It must be something about the place that made everyone feel as light and exhuberant as children. The Ahkila Karnataka Makala Koota grounds made a perfect venue for the very well put together Children's Literature Festival, Kathavana, organised by Azim Premji University. Students form various government schools and private schools had a great three days listening to authors, illustrators and storytellers, seeing movies, and reading through hundreds of children's books at the festival, held in this historic playground in the heart of the city,
For me, this outing was even more precious – I've played here as a child, we've brought our children here when they were kids, and last week, I got to play with hundreds of children at Makkala Koota. We played with paper, a few crushed sheets of paper. With an audience comprising children of all age groups it was gratifying to see how the bits of paper lent themselves well to a narration of my little story that makes up Paper Play. Then, at the end of the story where a donkey eats up the sun, we moved to paper money. And this was a perfect lead in to the next set of books, the Rupaiya Paisa series. When we finished with that, and all of us had had fun, and I bid them goodbye, one group of kids presented me the perfect gift, a hastily made paper flower!
Here it is, a bit crushed like all real flowers tend to get when handled by too many people, my paper rose. Thank you kids!
When you go to Makkala Koota, I do hope you see the beautiful statue of a woman near the dias. That is R Kalyanamma, a writer, social worker and the first woman vice-president of the then Bangalore municipality, the person who founded the Akhila Karnataka Makkala Koota in Chamarajpet, Fort area, in 1938. Makkala Koota, seventy five years of being a happy place for kids.
Thanks Shyam of Bookalore for the wonderful black-and-white picture.