Decoding Indian Mythology for Children

Author Bhakti Mathur’s book How Hanuman Crossed the Ocean talks about overcoming challenges just like the monkey god did

Published: 21st May 2015 06:05 AM  |   Last Updated: 21st May 2015 06:05 AM   |  A+A-

Decoding Indian

CHENNAI: Author Bhakti Mathur, who created the ‘Amma Tell Me’ series of picture books about Indian festivals and mythology for children, is set to launch her latest book — How Hanuman Crossed the Ocean, in the city on Friday.

The book is the second in the series of the Hanuman trilogy by Bhakti. “The first part — Amma Tell Me About Hanuman! — talks about how Hanuman as a child tried to eat the sun and as a result ended up with a hurt chin.  It talks about the fact that actions have consequences and that we are all responsible for our actions. The second part of the trilogy – ‘Amma Tell Me How Hanuman Crossed the Ocean!’ talks about overcoming challenges in life and the resources that we can use towards the same just like Hanuman did,” he says. “And the third part of the trilogy will speak about Hanuman’s adventures in Lanka — finding Sita, burning Lanka, the war and saving Lakshman’s life. I am in the process of writing it and am hoping to launch it by September-October this year,” she adds.

Decoding Indiannn.jpgAccording to Bhakti, Hanuman is a favourite with children. “He is certainly my favourite character. In fact, the inspiration of the name of my publishing company ‘Anjana Publishing’ came from Hanuman, as Anjana is the name of his mother. As a child, I was fascinated with Hanuman because he was a naughty monkey who tried to gobble up the sun. As I grew up, I realised that  we find the perfect example of devotion, courage, discipline, humility, selflessness, intelligence and strength, in him.  He is what we can potentially be. What better role model for a child?” she says.

However, Bhakti, who is an avid reader of Indian mythologies, has no plans to restrict her books to Hanuman. “After completing the Hanuman trilogy, I want to write about Durga, Shiva, Lakshmi and the avatars of Vishnu. Our mythology is so vast and fascinating that there seem to be endless things to write about!” says Bhakti,whose favourite authors include Devdutt Pattanaik, Ashok Banker, Sanjay Patel and the authors of the God series by Penguin.

She decided to write the ‘Amma Tell Me’ series when she found that there were no resources that explained Indian mythology throught simple stories — that which she could share with her two young sons. “So I went ahead and started writing the stories in a style that I think kids find fun and non-preachy, and collaborated on the illustrations to bring out the imagery that I want my stories to convey,” says the author, who currently works for a major Swiss Bank in Hong Kong.

Bhakti wrote and self-published her first book, Amma Tell Me About Holi! in 2011. “I find myself going back to Indian mythology, because the stories serve as a wonderful parenting tool to highlight the values that we want our children to imbibe.  These are the universal values of courage, determination, perseverance, generosity and morality, of what is right versus wrong. These stories are equally applicable to us adults who in the busyness of life’s routine fail to think about what really matters,” she says.

How Hanuman Crossed the Ocean will be launched at Starmark, Express Avenue, on May 22 at 11 am.

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