Thursday, February 13, 2014

A Black Horse, a Burly Bear, an Elephant and a Mahout

Last week, we launched one of our brand new titles - A Pair of Twins - at the Kala Ghoda Arts Festival in the presence of the author, Kavitha Mandana; the illustrator, Nayantara Surendranath and our Creative Director, Narayan Parasuram. When we asked Kavitha to tell us all about the event, here's what she had to say:
I was full of anticipation before leaving to Mumbai for the launch of ‘A Pair of Twins’ at the Kala Ghoda festival, but I was brought back to earth by my daughter. She wanted veto rights on what I was going to wear. “It has to be ‘authorly’, Ma,” she said patiently. Her tone suggested that I could not be trusted regarding this important matter! Even my footwear was inspected for ‘authorliness’.
When I reached Mumbai, Nayantara, the very illustrator who has poured brilliant colour into the story, casually mentioned over the phone that she’d be wearing a white sari. White? I was flummoxed. Luckily Nayantara had her sister accompanying her. She vetoed Nayantara's choice and draped her in all the colours of the book…thank goodness.

But we weren’t done with wardrobe issues. At Kitab Khana, we ran into a strange approved outfit, but nobody to wear it. Narayan looked a bit worried as the person supposed to wear the Karadi costume, hadn’t turned up. Eventually, Narayan gamely stepped in, and played the bear.

By this time, we had a room full of kids with a smattering of mums.

 Nayantara had made a ‘Punch ‘n’ Judy’ kind of frame, which was placed on stage. We planned to invite kids to dress up as characters from the book, after the reading. Nayantara also carried a bag of props that she’d made – an elephant trunk, a pair of woollen plaits, a crown, etc.

Karadi the bear was supposed to officially launch the book by unwrapping it, but Narayan could barely see. (I suspect, he’d worn the costume front-side back!) So to prevent our first copy of ‘A Pair of Twins’ from being mauled by a sort of blind-folded bear, a little girl from the audience was invited up to unwrap the book. And then we were off into a full fledged reading.


It was over before I realised it. And then the kids eagerly trooped on stage to ‘dress up’ for pictures. Most girls wore Sundari’s plaits. One girl chose to be Lakshmi, the elephant…we even had a drummer boy playing Vikram. After a long, long photo session, Nayantara gave away the props to the kids.



There were some great interactions with parents. I was surprised with how the story resonated with mothers of boys. The next day, at a school session organised by Kala Ghoda, I walked into a room full of about 30 boys and just a handful of girls. For a moment, I wondered how this story with two determined heroines would go down with this kind of audience. But the boys loved it – identifying completely with Sundari, and the idea of chasing your dreams. I came away from that classroom in Fazlani International School feeling wonderful!

Thanks for this lovely write-up about the event, Kavitha! 


  1. Hahaha! Some fun, Kavitha! Loved reading this! :)

    Hugs, Richa

  2. Thanks Richa,
    I met so many writers there, I realised that if u'd not been away, this wld have been where I cld have put a face to all the emails we've exchanged. With ur books also getting launched at kala ghoda, much celebrations over kitab khana pastries cld have happened...

  3. Hey Kavitha - Saw this by sheer chance. Did not know you were the author of Karadi tales. Would be great to connect up after all these years. Regards Mohan