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Archive for the ‘Social issues’ Category

No.7 of #52Stories: A Helping Hand

28 February 2017
Posted in: 52 stories, Books, Social issues, Writing | No Comments

52 Stories 2017Back in 2015, I was asked by Vidya Mani if I’d like to do a book on the theme of fitting in for the StoryWeaver open-source repository of stories. She was commissioning a set of books on the broad subject of emotional intelligence. Of course, the answer was yes.

The result was A Helping Hand, a story about a reluctant ‘mentor’ who slowly thaws towards the new girl in his class.

There’s a new girl in class and our teacher has asked me to be her friend and show her around. But I’m not sure I want to – she’s… not like the rest of us!

Vidya is an exacting editor, and refused to give up as the story went through a few “meh” drafts. The final result is what you see on StoryWeaver, illustrated wonderfully by Vartika Sharma. I loved how Vartika gave her own interpretation to the epistolary format of the story. It was interesting also that I imagined the protagonist as a boy (though chose not to give him a name) and she saw her as a girl. Such surprises are what make up a truly collaborative work. Vartika’s style and the silhouette-y nature of the figures are what keep the story from being just a collection of boring, childish notes.

You can read the whole story here right now:

A Helping Hand has since been translated many times—into Bengali, Gujarati, Hindi, Kannada, Odia, Tamil, Telugu, Konkani and even Indonesian. Since it’s a StoryWeaver publication, it is available under a Creative Commons licence, open to being downloaded, read, read aloud, printed, translated, re-illustrated and more. So feel free to read it, share it, download it, and pass it around.

~PD

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Book review: Come, before Evening Falls

29 July 2016
Posted in: Books, Reviews, Social issues, Writeside | No Comments

Yesterday, at the Scholastic Writing Awards ceremony in Delhi, I ran into the author Manjul Bajaj. We were only introduced to the each other just as we were leaving, but we had a nice walk down the stairs talking about a mutual writer friend, Monideepa Sahu. Anyway, I digress…

Meeting Manjul reminded me of a book of hers that I liked very much and had reviewed, but in one of the design updates, it had got culled from the reviews section. So here it is again, a review of Manjul Bajaj’s Come, before Evening Falls, a haunting story of forbidden love, set in the Rohtak in British India. Though the story takes place in the early 20th century, what is terrifyingly disturbing is that, take the dates away, and it would ring just as true in the present day.

Click here for the full review

~PD

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Book review: Asmara’s Summer

2 June 2016
Posted in: Books, Reviews, Social issues | 1 Comment

Is there anything more important to a teenager than her street cred? No, at least not for Asmara. So when her Canada plans are cancelled and instead she has to spend a month with her grandparents in the conservative and definitely un-posh part of town, it is instant social disaster.

So Asmara does the only thing that seems reasonable: she pretends to her friends that she is in Canada and settles down to turn up her nose at Tannery Road.

What happens next is something that takes her by surprise.

Read the full review

~PD

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