'The Story Quilt Edited & Compiled' book review: A patchwork of tales

This collection of eight children’s stories includes translations from Assamese, Gujarati, Kannada, Kashmiri, Konkani, Maithili, Punjabi and Sindhi.

Published: 27th June 2021 05:00 AM  |   Last Updated: 26th June 2021 05:38 PM   |  A+A-


For representational purposes

This collection of eight children’s stories includes translations from Assamese, Gujarati, Kannada, Kashmiri, Konkani, Maithili, Punjabi and Sindhi. Harshikaa Udasi writes that the idea took root when she realised that her mother tongue, Sindhi, was fading into oblivion. This led her to an interesting quest—sourcing stories written by authors in different Indian languages. Delightful illustrations by Dr Sherline Pimenta K accompany each tale—distinctive in terms of drawing, colour scheme and composition.

‘Ragho’s Story’ in Maithili is about an eight-year-old village boy who feels alienated and suffocated by the discipline in his hostel. Written by Dr Ushakiran Khan, the story is “a graduation from isolation to assimilation of the rural and the urban”, elaborates Savita, its translator. ‘Oink! Oink!!’, a Konkani story by Meena Kakodkar, is about five-year-old Sharv who brings home a piglet even though the elders in his house are horrified. They decide to ‘purify’ the house by sprinkling it with cow dung.

‘Ghost Kid’s Netscapade’ is an Assamese story about a ghost child who explores the world of computers, video games and social media—only to discover that spirits do not need machines, as they already have special powers. Translator Rupalim Patgiri believes that young readers will identify with the story’s curious and demanding protagonist. In similar vein is ‘A Flight of Fancy’, a Sindhi story that portrays the conflict between needs and wants. Issardas’ special scooter has feelings and emotions. In its desire for freedom, it takes off on its own one day, only to realise that it is meant for a life of bondage with its master. Its celebrated author, Dr Hundraj Balwani, has written more than 100 books in Sindhi, Hindi and Gujarati.

A Kannada story by KP Poornachandra Tejasvi, ‘Maara’s Mission’, is about an old watchman. His methods of dealing with problems, however, are effective, and beneath a foolish exterior, he possesses extraordinary intelligence. Likewise is ‘Miya Fuski vs the Trickster’, a Gujarati story originally written in the 1940s by Jivram Joshi, a pioneering author of Gujarati children’s literature. When the Thakur of Rajpur asks him to deliver some money, the iconic Miya Fuski uses his wit and presence of mind to outsmart a trickster. Translator Vaishali Shroff is an award-winning children’s author and columnist.

‘Humi’s Cricket Team’ is a simple yet poignant Kashmiri story about a girl who loves to play cricket. Humi dreams of going to the moon and using its large empty stretches of land as a pitch for her cricket team. The story’s author, Ghulam Nabi Aatash, has written and translated more than 40 books in Urdu and Kashmiri. The Punjabi story with a big heart, ‘The R Word’, has Neema, a young boy, bullied by boys in school for being a Tibetan refugee. Neema’s grandfather then explains to him the true meaning of ‘refugee’—respect, responsibility and return. 

In all, the book is an eclectic mix of stories spanning across India’s varied regions. The plurality and uniqueness of its narrative are showcased by way of diverse themes, moods and messages.

India Matters


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