Kesar and the Lullaby Birds
ABOUT THE BOOK
Kesar’s baby sister Kamal will not sleep. Their entire village in the Great Rann Of Kutch is kept awake by the infant’s cries and her parents are exhausted. When Kesar and Kamal’s Ba comes to visit, her stories give Kesar a wonderful idea. Perhaps what Kesar needs to put her baby sister to sleep is a little bit of desert magic!
Set amidst the largest salt desert of the world, The Great Rann Of Kutch, this a simple and a delightful story of Kesar, a smart little girl and her baby sister Kamal. Through this story, the readers get a glimpse of the desert lifestyle as well as the very rich and diverse art and culture of the region. The readers are introduced to the very unique Kutchi desert housing called the “Bhunga” which is both, an engineering wonder as well as a work of art. Various forms of Kutchi folk art like hand embroidery, mud-mirror mural work known as “Lippan Kaam” , wall paintings and the exquisite handicrafts are explored through this book.
Along with conceptualizing, researching and writing this story, I got a brilliant opportunity to explore some of the Kutchi Folk art and their cultural elements which are incorporated in the book!
KATHAA BEEJ - THE STORY SEED
The seed that germinated into Kesar and Lullaby Birds, is this beautiful and traditional handicraft - the sparrow dangler! Each dangler is handmade with colorful threads, with cloth birds, beads, mirrors and shells stitched onto them. Each bird itself is decorated with small mirrors, beads, sequins and colorful threads.
I've always deeply admired various forms of folk art and handicrafts practiced across India. And, I've genuinely been in awe of those extremely skilled and hardworking artisans who live simple and humble lives.
I realized that, these artists, their art forms, their lifestyle and their experiences need their place in the children's literature. It will give all of us around the world, especially the young readers, an opportunity and inspiration to celebrate diversity, simplicity and sheer talent.
I've chosen the setting of my story to be in Kutch - the melting pot of numerous tribes and cultures, overflowing with breathtaking folk art and crafts, which also happens to be right in my own backyard.
DEBUT AS A CHILDREN'S AUTHOR
My mother and my father, being ardent readers of Gujarati literature and other works, are also passionate storytellers. It is by the virtue of their enthusiasm that I grew up listening to a broad spectrum of stories. Characters from Gujarati and Indian folklore as well as the various world classics were regular visitors in my home, and, they still are.
When I became a mother, I spontaneously became a storyteller too. Along with narrating the stories I had grown up listening to, I weaved many new ones.
I realized how important it was to pass on these stories from one generation to next in order to keep them connected to simplicity of life and simple pleasures. That is the reason, I chose to write.
As of today, I enjoy retelling and illustrating the old classic folklore as well as sketching new characters, funny and interesting plots and cheerful endings. It is the very active 'little Aditi' within me, that keeps me going.