When we first read Rukmini Banerji's 'दीदी का रंग बिरंगा खज़ाना', we were smitten! It felt great to publish a story that managed to capture the magic of reading in such an enchanting way, and all this as part of StoryWeaver's 'Weave-a-Story' campaign. Rukmini's manuscript also contained tiny visual cues (flowing red dupatta) for the illustrator, and we're happy to say how beautifully this turned out, also thanks to Kaveri Gopalakrishnan's illustrations.
Rukmini - the CEO of Pratham - has written many amazing stories for Pratham Books in the past. In this short conversation with the StoryWeaver team, she talks about how this story was born, on making reading a more inclusive experience and reading James Bond in Bangla.
It seems that 'दीदी का रंग बिरंगा खज़ाना' was inspired from your own experiences of working with children. How did the story take shape and form?
When Pratham first started in Mumbai, we worked a lot in near the dumping ground area in Deonar. There are a lot of slums around the dumping ground where there were a lot of out of school children.
You have been working closely with children from diverse backgrounds for several years now. Do you think this has influenced the stories you write?
I think there are some things that all children seem to like.
What do you think we could do - as a large community of people who care about reading - to ensure that reading becomes a more inclusive experience for children in India and around the world?I think reading needs to be in the air - when everyone reads and everyone likes stories then children like them too. I think our lives are always full of stories but we are often not sure how to make what happens into a story.
What do you do and where do you go when you desperately need inspiration to write? Yes, we're asking you to spill your secrets.
I only write when I feel like writing so I don't get desperate or need inspiration. Every now and then there are things that happen that turn themselves very easily into stories.
I was a voracious reader and read whatever I could find. My aunt used to translate popular English books into Bangla. So I read my first James Bond books in Bangla translation.
We are looking for this story to be translated into AS MANY LANGUAGES as possible. So if you like this story, you can make it available on StoryWeaver by translating it into a language that you're fluent in. Click here for a video tutorial that will make the process of translation super easy for you. Happy Weaving!