Book Release, Interview And Other Milestones


So much has been happening lately that I have lost count of things I needed to share with my readers though most of those who follow me on other social channels must be getting the micro updates.
I gave in to the temptation and joined Instagram. It is overwhelming and though a great platform I need to nip that desire to make it a focal point of living. Those of you who are there can follow me  @tikulli 

Can’t believe I have already shared more than 120 posts there. 😀

Now to the Good news that has kept me busy and happy.

My elder son Aditya is getting married to his lovely girl friend Snigdha. I don’t know how to explain the feeling of happiness. It is a new chapter in their lives and ours. As the big day gets closer I am becoming very nostalgic and emotional. (Not that I am not that most of the time lol)

I wish them friendship, love and joy. And Peace. I know I tried to do my best as a parent and I hope he starts now on a new note leaving behind the grief, sorrow and grudges of the past. Cherish the bond we share.

Sharing a box of rich dark ganache, dark chocolate from Fabelle chocolate boutique, ITC Maurya Sheraton. This delicious chocolate is made with exquisite Ghana Cocoa. I went there recently and got blown over by the range. Post coming up soon.

Now to writing and other things.

In July poet-editor-academe Seb Doubinsky featured me on TABAGO, his wonderful international page for writers. A great honor for me to share a platform with some of the finest writers.

“I think both fiction and poetry are socially relevant projects just like any other art, a form of protest.”

Let stories be told, poems be written and songs be sung without fear. Let there be tolerance, compassion and love for all. We are living in difficult times and there is a dire need for change for the good of future generations. 70 years of Independence mean nothing if we still live in fear, if human lives do not matter. Violence, apathy, intolerance, bigotry needs to go.

Here is the link to the interview.  TIKULI DOGRA  

Another fantastic new is selection of my short story in ‘Silence is White’ an exceptional anthology dedicated to my dear friend, author, editor, academe, Seb Doubinsky. Kudos to  Chris Kelso and James Goddard for making this happen and Manu Rich for the brilliant cover.  I am the only Indian writer in the anthology and very proud to be included. Thank you James for putting the soul in my story. Releasing Date – October, 19th. You can pre order the book here. Soon it will be available here too.

 

 

I have a very important announcement coming up in a few days. Stay tuned. 🙂 

Meanwhile, my blog has been nominated in five categories for Indian Blogger Awards. Even non bloggers can leave a comment through Facebook. If you enjoy my writing, photographs etc do leave a testimonial by clicking on the given link.  #IBA2017 

Show some love by leaving a comment here.  You can even click on the right side bar widget to reach the page. Indiblogger completed a decade this year and I have nine years of wonderful association with them as a blogger. A great platform to be part of.

In nine years of blogging with WordPress I have now 2,700+ followers and 704,608 blog hits.

The blog was listed in Top Blogs of India for the sixth consecutive year. This year was the seventh edition of the Directory of best Indian blogs. A great milestone for me. Thank you for being part of my journey.

We blog, therefore we are.  

Keep reading and do leave your comments on the posts so that I know your views.

Thank you for all the love and support. Blogging with WordPress has been a very satisfying journey. The stats show the encouragement I get from all of you. Stay connected.

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The House Of Oracles | Chandini Santosh


Very few books are cathartic, even fewer leave you listless yet fulfilled in a strange way. Chandini Santosh’s The House of Oracles opened some blocks in me. Tears came effortlessly as I finished the book today. They came because a catharsis was much needed. The sky poured endlessly outside my window. I do not know how to review a book so just jotting down what flowed from my heart. This is the second book revolving around an ancestral house that has touched me so deeply. Both the books are by women writers and extremely compelling reads.

Some incidents from past can haunt you for the lifetime, emerging when least expected. Chandini has so beautifully woven that in the theme of the story. Throughout the novel the thought pulsates underneath the current happenings seeking release and atonement in some form or the other.

The heart wrenching narrative tugs at you to keep reading but I had to pause because the characters drew me in at different levels not letting go. The story is set in North Malabar region  and I urge you to do some reading about the ‘Oracles of Malabar’, an incredibly vibrant tradition that is slowly vanishing now, before proceeding to read. The House of Oracles is not just a voyage down the memory lane exploring the rich history, rituals, customs, it is also a journey within. A search for inner happiness, an effort to engage with oneself at levels one wants to push aside. Every one of us has to go through the myriads of  emotions, struggle and pave our path through the pressures and demands society as well as life inflicts on us and that is why perhaps the line between fiction and reality blurs as one reads through the pages.

Although the strong female characterization is the strength of the novel it is the portrayal of the male characters that grew on me. The vulnerability of human emotions is so deftly crafted that it is impossible to disconnect. Each character, even the short lived Vishnu, gets permanently etched in the mind.

The women on the other hand have this inner strength that surfaces quietly at times and at others more vociferously. Even in the midst of chaos that surrounds their lives there is resilience and dignity.

Chandini is a poet and painter par excellence and from the opening lines the four hundred year old house of oracles, the outhouse, the graves, the trees and the forty steps leading down begin to emerge before the reader like a painting. A painting alive with the aroma of the Parijata flowers floating down like tiny, wispy dreams or the moon dragging over the tulsi plant in the atrium, the stream swollen with rain, the daunting shadow of the seven layered stone lamp eternally etched on the walls, the grape-eyed monkey looking beseechingly from the tamarind tree, the lake simmering like a silver coin tossed into the night.. the imagery takes your breath away. One feels compelled to get under the skin of the characters and follow them around the House of Oracles and at times one almost becomes the house itself. There is no other way than to give in.

It is the phrases like, “Forgiving is a limbless genie. It has to be carried in rounded palms or the open hollows of the grieving mind” and “Everyone has to find their own key to the treasure; everyone’s treasure is different” that make you cling to the book till the last word.

Weaved intricately between family traditions, human tragedies, ancient customs is the inevitable social transformation, caste struggle, anomalies of land grab, the ways of the neo-rich and the uncomfortable transition from traditional to modern.

This intense, fast paced narrative will not let you down at any level. The cover design is based on a charcoal sketch by the author and is the portal to a world of storytelling that’s hard to come by these days.

I highly recommend Chandini’s debut novel to everyone. Go pick up your copy here – The House Of Oracles

Monsoon and Collection Of Chaos


Monsoon is at the threshold and already the rain has generously filled the empty pockets of my city. In the midst of the chaos rain brings one can spot carts and carts of mangoes, lychees, jamuns, peaches, phalsa, musk melons, water melons and other summer fruits. The gorgeous Amaltas or Laburnum, dressed in yellow, is hard to miss.
The parakeets are here and so is the familiar smell of earth, grass and flowers.
 I am thinking of wood roasted bhutta from the hills and hot jalebis filled with the sweet nectar of life. Usually a coffee person, I love  the adrakewali masala chai at this time espcially when it is infused wit hthe earthy aroma of the mitti ka kulhad.
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As I edit the second book of poems good news is still floating in from various parts of the globe with readers sending me their feedback and writing reviews for Collection Of Chaos.  I have come a long way since this book happened in 2014 and some very exciting news is coming soon that I will share soon. Here is my author page on Leaky Boot Press Website. Check out the other titles too.
Kabir Malik is a young poet, photographer, wanderer. This is what he says,
If you are fond of Urdu / Hindi poetry then you must listen to Tauseef Ahmed’s poems. He is brilliant and knows how to touch the pulse of the listeners. Many of his poems are on his FB timeline. Do explore. I gifted him the book some months back and here is what he says,
I must have mentioned the wanderer travel blogger BNomadic in some previous blog post. Travel enthusiasts Must checkout his blog. It is one the best I have come across till now.  He bought the book and wrote a review sometime back. He says,
Rebecca Behar is French Poet and writer and has been following my work since sometime. It was a pleasant surprise to find a short note from her on amazon.
The book recently traveled to Melbourne, Australia. Poet / Writer Jaymz Hawkes found me on FB and read some of my work there. I got a note from him saying he had ordered the book and here is his review. It took almost a month for the book to reach him. The waiting is always the part of the journey.
Thank you each one of you for the encouragement and support. There is nothing more humbling for a writer than her learning being appreciated. So much has changed in last two years and especially in last few months but that we will talk about in a different post soon.
Among all this euphoria I got bitten by Instagram bug. So, you can chitchat with me there too. I need to do write- edit- read – repeat but most of all I need some discipline in life especially as a writer. Soon… 🙂
Did I mention that my elder son got engaged in April? It was a beautiful Gurudwara ardas ceremony and the girl is one of a kind. Who knows where the time goes 🙂
It is a beautiful feeling to watch your children walk on their life path with such serenity and poise.
Motherhood has made me a better person and I always stress on this point, “Let your children be. You can’t teach a sapling how to grow; you can only give it all it needs, sit back and watch.” In doing so you are not just making them good citizens but most importantly better human beings; and in the end, that is all that matters.
I will be back soon with some poems and other writing news. Till then remember to connect with me and leave your views in the comment section of my posts.
Leaving you with someone I absolutely love and admire –  Every Word Has A Body And Soul 

In The Light Of Darkness – Radhika Maira Tabrez


 

After reading a book if something changes inside you for better then it is a good book. I found light from this one. Simple stories told from the heart are the best. Our lives, across the globe, are all connected with fragile threads. Sometimes these threads quiver just a little to make us aware of their existence and of the beauty of life that is unfolding despite everything. Threads that help us ‘cross over’, to move past regrets and sorrows and embrace life to the fullest.  These potent threads lead us to one another when the time is right and makes us whole again.

I went to the book launch of In The Light Of Darkness last Saturday and met Radhika for the first time. Though we had been in touch on Facebook since some time and I had read her blog occasionally I wasn’t too familiar with her writing. The book is published by  Readomania and their events are always heart warming. You must check out their other books and website too.

When I got the invite for the launch from her I had not seen the cover. The name itself was enough to convince me to look forward to the event. When she shared the cover, I was blown over. It just drew me in. A lot of emotions stirred inside and I thought what a beautiful poetry in picture it was. Later, after reading the novel, I realized how apt the cover was. It sums up the entire human saga of patient waiting of a woman, a mother, a son to being to closure all that needed to be closed. It sums up the very essence of the novel, how ‘the light of darkness’ eventually finds a crack, breaks through and brightens everything around it. It tells the importance of befriending,  understanding and embracing those ‘dark’ phases in our lives for these phases are an important gift for our overall growth and well being. I personally called them ‘rooting years’ .

The novel is exceptionally well written. One of the best I have read among emerging Indian writers. What a fantastic debut.

During the conversation Radhika told that it was Mary Oliver’s famous poem ‘Uses Of Sorrow’ from her book ‘Thirst’ that inspired her to write the story . Incidentally it is one of my favorite books and poem.

While reading, one can see how  beautifully she has captured the essence of that poem  and blended it in the narrative with such affecting simplicity. Throughout the book there is an underlying current of hope and faith. In the midst of all the struggles the character continuously find some thread to hold on to and renew their faith in life, in relationships, in themselves.

That brings me to another thing that has receded in the shadows of time. Letter writing. There is something very personal in writing a letter with hand. Words that came alive and pulsated as you run your fingers on them. Letters that evoked so many emotions in you even after years of receiving them. Letters that bridge the distance and sometimes bring things to closure, assuring a new beginning. I remembered such letters as I read Susan’s letter to her son. there is a certain clairvoyance in it. A light in the dark. I have known the power of such light and could see how beautifully it lead Matthew to the path he had known but never had strength to take.

This isn’t  book review or critique of her work. I am writing this to tell you how the book connected with me at many levels.Page after page I paused and lingered at places that took me back in time in my own life. So many things came up to the surface and eventually found closure. A feeling of Déjà vu made me so uncomfortable at times that I did not know whether to continue reading or to pause and then I realized I needed to go on, go on to find something that will provide the catharsis. If a story helps you look within it always heals.

Sometimes a line becomes so significant that it plays in the mind on a loop. This book had many such lines and I was tangled in them. I could have read the book in one go but as I said there are words that pulled at my sleeves like a kitten seeking attention. We all choose our karmic path and are responsible for our decisions especially the toughest ones. Decisions that drastically alter the whole flow of life, shaking the very bonds of love, of comradeship, of trust. We hope that those who are directly or indirectly affected by those decisions will eventually understand. This hope sustains us, gives us a reason to live.

A mother-child relationship is much more than just a natural bond. The author has dealt with the complexities of this bond so effortlessly. The book makes you wonder about the woman who is torn between being a mother and a woman. It makes you reach out to the son who is struggling to find the light of hope in the darkness that was gifted to him by life. For me, it brought back the memories of a similar decision I had to take for my son. As the story unfolded I was filled with the memories of those dark times and how that box of darkness became a gift to me and possibly for my son in a different way perhaps, but none the less a gift. Not many narratives shake your conscience  the way this one does.

When the story is too close to home it often messes with your mind. In those times I wrote to Radhika and poured my heart out and then I found why this book is so special. Radhika has this innate ability to comfort and love which instantly made me feel better. It also made me realize that time is insignificant to connect deeply with someone. Only a person with so much depth can touch lives with her words.  I know I will cherish this one for long.

The book conveys an important message. I don’t know where your reading of the book will lead you and I am not discussing anything about the plot or the characters here. I want you to find your light once you read it.

 

Go pick your copy of In The Light Of Darkness

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All For The Love Of Books


 

Since some years I had limited myself to specific genres and was missing out on a lot of good books especially the Hindi Literature.So, this year I decided to push myself and expand my reading horizons by taking up the Brunch Book Challenge by Hindustan Times Brunch or HT Brunch.

The deal is to read 24 book by the year end and tweet about them/ write reviews or just share your thoughts about the book with #BrunchBookChallenge and @HTBrunch so they can know your progress and after the completion of the challenge if they pick you up as a winner you get a goodies bag full of books. How cool is that. ) The hashtag also connects you with an ever-growing community of book lovers.

This year the challenge is focused on reading Indian Books. The book could be written by an Indian author or it could be about India.I decided to add some more spice to it by choosing to read regional literature in translation, Hindi Literature and non fiction / creative non fiction. Along with this I have taken the @100BookPact too. This too has a twitter hashtag #100BookPact where you can view what others are reading.

So far I have read 10 books and written their reviews on Goodreads except one which isn’t listed there. I did post my views about it on twitter. Here is the list of my first 10 books. I will update on my progress after every ten reads.

#BrunchBookChallenge

  1. Deja Karma
  2. Tughlaq by Girish Karnad
  3.  Water spirit and other stories by Imran Hussain
  4.  The best crime stories from the 19th century
  5. Of ghosts and other perils Troilokanath Mukhopadhyay (trastated by Arnab Bhattacharya
  6. City of Djins – William dalrymple
  7. Clifton Bridge –Irshad AbdulKader
  8. A life in words – memoir Ismat chugtai (traslated by M Asaduddin)
  9.  Onitsha – JMG Le Cleze
  10. Mr. Majestic- The Tout of Bengaluru – Zac O’Yeah

 

I am still reading the last one. Writing deadlines and a wonderful opportunity to be the guest editor of illustrious Cafe Dissensus Magazine kept me away from reading for some time. When Mosarrap. H. Khan, the editor of this wonderful magazine, asked me if I would like to be the guest editor for the March issue no.(23) with a theme ‘The Book That Left An Impact On Me In 2015’ I said Yes without a second thought. I hadn’t done anything like this before but the challenge was too tempting to let go. Nervousness took the better of excitement once I made the commitment and I seriously began to freak out when the subs didn’t arrive in the first few weeks. I always feel mentoring plays a great role in helping you overcome fears and doubts. Mosarrap guided and encouraged at every step to help me bring out a remarkable issue in a very short time. Producing a magazine is a collaborative effort and I think communication and followup between writers and editors makes the task easy. Magazine editing taught me a lot about reading submissions, editing and submitting my own writing. A big thank you to all those who sent us their submissions at such a short notice.

I am very proud of this achievement and grateful to the editor and team of CD for trusting me with such a huge responsibility.

Here is a link to my guest editorial and the content list of the issue. Do please read and leave your views.

I absolutely loved reading Along The Red River , which is a powerful autobiography of the acclaimed veteran journalist, Sabita Goswami, who was the first woman reporter in the North-East to have worked for organisations like AFP and BBC. The book is translated from the original Assamese, Mon Gongaar Teerot by her elder daughter, Dr. Triveni Goswami Mathur, who is also a journalist and an academician.

It left a lasting impression on me and that’s the reason I chose to write about it as my contribution to the Magazine that I guest edited. Those who haven’t read the book, please do. It is available with all online booksellers.

Here is an excerpt from the essay, you can read the rest by clicking on this link 

I believe that the lives of women across the globe are connected with each other and there is a river that runs through them, filling them with strength and calm. This is what Along the Red River did to me. Recounted with poise, honesty and a rare passion, this book is a compelling read. I often find solace and a voice of reason in its pages.

 

I will now resume by book challenge and writing. A few poetry submissions are awaiting decision and some more poems and stories are waiting patiently in the drafts to see the sunlight.

Do let me know if you are taking any of these challenges or if you read my work. Your comments/ suggestions will help me improve.

 

“Collection of Chaos”Reviews And Winter Blooms


The eternal seductiveness of life

2016 began with some good news. A few online publications, visits to the Delhi Literature Festival and the Crime Writers Festival plus two wonderful reviews of my poetry book ‘Collection of Chaos’. I won a few twitter contests about crime writers and the prizes are awaited. More books to read. 🙂 

I also went chasing the scents of those who lived and dreamed in the city of Delhi. explored the tombs of Safdarjang, Mohammad Shah and Sikander Lodhi etc. I have a few more walks lined up for next few months. Some photo opportunities  and food trails to look forward to.  

The winter has finally crossed the threshold of Delhi like a shy new bride and this is the best time to enjoy the unbeatable delicacies of Old Delhi and bask under the winter sun in one of those fabulous gardens the city has.

You may just come across a group of young poets sharing their verses, sharing their views about their city and its history.  There is something about ruins and poetry that’s inseparable, winter just adds a veil of mystery to it.

Delhi becomes a flower girl in winter. The beautiful Gazania, Phlox, Cineraria, Salvia, Pansy, Candy tuft, Alysasum, Petunia, Gerbera, cosmos and many more are painting the city in myriad hues. The magnificent Dahlias are in full bloom too. Some trees that are adorning the city streets with their lovely blossoms are, Red Silk cotton,  kachnar, and the intoxicating Saptparni. The winter flower show is coming up next month and I am so looking forward to it.

Talking of flowers and poetry, while I wait for some submission results. two authors recently reviewed my two year old poetry book.

Vibhuti Bhandarkar is the author of ‘Not Totally Unbelievable‘ a collection of fantastic short stories about the mystical, magical and paranormal. She is also a blogger and an artist and has her own fashion label called YOLO By VIbz 

This is what she has to say about the book,

” Tikuli’s collection of poems are a deluge of emotions, each separate piece a heavier thought than before. Her words definitely come from a lifetime of myriad experiences and jarring observations, from changing times. From the little understanding that I have of poetic meters and such, Tikuli has ventured to utilise very different forms of poetry, and yet maintained her voice in it. She has given expression to a whirlwind of emotions and yet Tikuli manages to maintain order in the usage of correctly chosen words.

 

You can hop on to her blog for a complete review –  Krishmaklaver – Collection of Chaos – Book Review

The second review comes from the incredible Rhiti Bose. writer, blogger and the Editor-in-chief of  Incredible Women Of India . Her short stories have been published in an anthology named ‘An Atlas of Love’ by Rupa publications among other places.

Rhiti says,

“She plays with the words like a master craftsman, creating one masterpiece after another. The poems are mostly in free verse and Tikuli makes use of it suitably. Each poem has its own story to tell, there are not just mere verses depicting the abstract, each line has a meaning, every word has a tale hidden underneath.”

 

Do read the full review at Collection of Chaos by Tikuli – A Review  

 

I am also guest editing the upcoming March issue of Cafe Dissensus so do please SUBMIT your entries. The last date for submission is 28th Feb. Theme – ‘The Book That Made an Impact on You in 2015’ .

 

The book is available with all online book vendors. Do get your copy and hey, let me know your views too.

Meanwhile,

enjoy this little poem from the set published earlier in Cafe Dissensus,

rain pours like old jazz,

scribbles itself on roads that

shimmer like piano keys,

liquid notes cling to the

silhouettes of trees, the last train

leaves the station, taking with it

a sea of salt laced bodies, night

swallows the evening

Ten on Tuesday – Ten Books I Read This Year


This year I wasn’t able to read much due to my eye surgery but here are the ten books which I read and loved.

The House Of Twinning Roses – Nabina Das

The Girl Who Loved A Pirate – KulpreetYadav

A Kind of Kaddish – Jerry Wilson

Scion Of Ikshvaku – Amish Tripathi

Unbound 2,000 Years Of Indian Women’s Writing – Edited by Annie Zaidi

Along The Red River – SabitaGoswami

Gabriel Garcia Marquez Collected Stories

Neruda Selected Poems

A Darker Shade (17 Swedish Stories of Murder, Mystery and Suspense) – Edited by John-Henri Holmberg

The Science Fiction Hall of Fame (Vol.1) – Edited by Robert Silverberg

“Too Good To Be Missed” John Lyle On My Book ‘Collection Of Chaos’


I have been really encouraged by the positive and constructive feedback from the readers of my début poetry book ‘Collection Of Chaos‘. Many readers sent me personal messages and some posted their views on Goodreads and on their personal blogs.You can view  ‘selfies with chaos‘  and the feedbacks on my Facebook Blog Fan Page and on Leaky Boot Press Page.

Nothing makes a new emerging writer happy to know she is well received. I thank each one of you for the support.

Recently John Lyle, an exceptional singer song writer, wrote a review of my book on Amazon. It’s the first ever amazon review for me and I am ecstatic with joy. John is not just a great musician but also a sensitive and compassionate person. It is a pleasure to know him. I love his music and often recommend it to friends.

I remember John’s messages when he received the book.

“I got your book today, Tikuli. I love Chris’s forward and am really looking forward a wonderful read!” He wrote and then after a few days as he read,”  “‘she watched the mob with vacant eyes’. A harrowing counterpart to my song ‘They Stoned Her‘. Kindred spirits for sure. You are a raw, wonderful talent and nobody can stop you.”

“Haunted by waters”, and haunted by your lovely book “Collection of Chaos” which I have just finished reading for the first time. Thanks for writing it Tikuli!”

These little notes filled my otherwise stressed out days with immense pleasure. Words of encouragement from great artists who understand the depth of a poet’s mind and all that is unsaid are what makes us go forth and break the mental barriers and work harder to realize our dreams.

Singer Song writer John Lyle

Thank you John for reading my book and for this review and words of praise. It is pleasure to be on the same platform with you and other brilliant Leaky Boot Press writers. 

Here is an except from the blurb
Tikuli’s full blooded new book of poetry “Collection of Chaos” is too good to be missed. Her poems are direct and strong and I would not want to be on the wrong end of one of them. But when the occasion demands her writing is heartbreakingly tender and you’ll want to put your arms around her.

You can read the full review here  Collection Of Chaos customer Review – John Lyle

 

You can buy and read John’s book The Kindest Lies Here. Listen and enjoy his soulful music  Here. You can buy his songs on iTunes too.  John Lyle on Leaky Boot Press.

 

You can buy My Book from:iTunes

Amazon

Flipkart

Book Depository (free delivery worldwide)

and all other online booksellers.
Goodreads Page For Collection Of Chaos 

 

Monday Memories 9 – A Childhood Reading List


We lived in a house full of books. The range was vast and some of the books were  rare editions which had gone out of print. Reading and story telling were part of our daily life as little children. I inherited a treasure of children’s literature from my elder brother and many new books were bought by my parents to encourage reading habits. I have faint memories of  my mother reading out stories from beautiful colorful picture books and then slowly graduating  to the magnificent tales from all kind of children’s books from across the world. Most of the books were shared and rotated among family friends who had children of readable age.

I think I began reading in Hindi first. People’s Publishing House in Connaught Place sold awesome soviet children’s literature in English as well as in Hindi. A whole generation grew up on these books. During the soviet era the two countries had strong ties and many of books were translated and printed to Hindi and English from Russian. After disintegration of the Soviet Union in 1991, book exchange went down dramatically. In ’91- ’92 I was able to still buy some editions of children’s literature for my son who was just an infant then. It was a bargain that paid off because soon the books went out of print.

I had thin paperbacks called ‘shyama kali par ujle par wali’ , “masha aur bhalu’ , ‘Tolstoy ki kahaniyan’ , ‘Roosi Lok Kathaye’ and many more which I would read again and again. The books had lovely illustration too mostly by Ivan Bilibin. Similarly the books in English were ‘Babushka and the three kings’, ‘The Frog Princess’, Masha and the Bear’, ‘The Lion and the Dog’, ‘ The Firebird- Russian Fairy Tales’  which I had in Hardcover with a gorgeous phoenix on its cover ( One of my favorite books that remained with me will I was in college), the thrilling tales of Baba Yaga were  the most read I guess. I even bought many of these books for my elder son and they are still with my children. A heritage passed on from one generation to another. I had collection of Russian Folk Tales (many were Slavic folktales) and easy to read abridged versions of stories by Tolstoy and Chekov. One of he books I loved to read as a kid was ‘Wash ’em clean’ a 1923 poem about a small boy who does not want to wash by Chukovsky. It had some characters lie the crocodile from Chukovsky’s other books.  It was hilarious and had such wonderful illustrations. Both my boys loved the book too. Alexander Pushkin was another of my favorite author and his book ‘The Tale of the Tsar Saltan, of his Son, the glorious and mighty prince Guidon Saltanovich, and of the fair Swan-princess’ had beautiful illustrations by Ivan Bilibin.

It is unfortunate that most of these books are either out of print or not available easily unless of course you wish to read them on your computer.

Apart from the favorites from PPH there were other treasures like ‘Little women’ ,  The Famous Five’ and ‘The secret seven’ series and the ‘Enid Blyton Mystery series,  series of Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys all handed down by a family friend (which were originally my brother’s given to him for reading). By then I also began reading more soviet classic literature.

Books by A. A. Milne, Roald Dahl, and James Herriot (All things bright and beautiful and All creatures great and small’), Lawrence Darrell  were read and read again.

Apart from these I had children’s magazines called ‘Lilliput’ which were part of my mom’s childhood book collection. Unfortunately many of the rare books  were given away to scrap dealers by my maternal uncle’s family without us even knowing about it. They included many classics and author signed copies too.

There were some exceptional books by British Author Arthur Mee, ‘The Children’s Encyclopedia’ and my favorite ‘ One Thousand Beautiful Things- chosen from The Life and Literature of the World’ . The book had wonderful poetry, prose and illustrations.  I remember distinctly a Peter Pan pop up book which was  a smashing hit with all of us.

I have forgotten the names of many more books now. They come to me like picture postcards from the past sometimes. I gave away many of the books to a library and some were passed on to my boys. I can name hundreds of others which I read and loved as a young girl.

I had a large collection of books and children’s magazines in Hindi too. Mostly paperbacks. When Kid1 began to read I got him books from SAHMAT  . Adi loved the simple narrative and his favorite was Bansuriwala by Safdar Hashmi.

I highly recommend these books for younger children. Regional literature for children is a good choice for reading. It connects the young minds to their culture and surroundings.  Buy such books and magazines for kids.

I have only two books now remaining from my childhood collection – Now we are six and In Poem Town- 1 ( The 7 remaining volumes  of this book were just given away as scraps by my uncle’s family 😦  )

In Poem Town is from my maternal grandfather's collection, handed down from mom to me.

In Poem Town is from my maternal grandfather’s collection, handed down from mom to me.

My boys are grown up now but I hope they will keep those lovely companions of their childhood days.

Do share what you read as a child and what books your children read.

Storytelling is a dying art. Please read stories to your children. Inculcate early reading habits.

Children’s books are portable magic , open the minds of your young ones  to this magical extravaganza.

Select them with care for “No book is really worth reading at the age of ten which is not equally – and often far more – worth reading at the age of fifty and beyond.” C.J. Lewis