The Kala Ghoda Children’s Literuature Festival 2013 – Part 1 aka The “We’re All Mad Here” Edition

Two days since the fest ended, and I already have major withdrawal symptoms. I didn’t get to click as many photographs as I would have liked what with being mobbed by parents, accidentally knocking down books with my backpack and apologising profusely every single day and trying not to trip on kids half my height. Also, handling the online registrations meant my dreams were punctuated with images of emails – Compose and Reply.

Weekends were completely bonkers. Parents from distant suburbs congregated on the general Kala Ghoda Fest then and left their kids’ entertainment upto us.

The first day had a play based on the gorgeously illustrated picture book Mister Jeejeebhoy and the Birds by Anitha Balachandran.

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I only had time to enter the garden about midway and was thoroughly confused about what was going on.

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The kids had a blast though. In the end, they even got to eat the sweets that acted as props in the play. I didn’t ask for my share because a) I was trying to be mature and b) It was all over by the time I got anywhere near the sweet boxes.

Sunday morning had us all turning the store upside down and stalking people in our effort to cobble together a respectable number of participants for Revathi Suresh’s session about her book Jobless Clueless Reckless. I clicked a few photographs of the event using another person’s camera. I don’t know why I was trusted because most of the photographs had my finger at the edge (which I kept mistaking for a blinding flash of light) and I also accidentally ended up clicking a picture of my shoes.

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I’ve heard only good things about this one and the excerpts are hilarious so this is definitely on my to-read-soon list

The evening’s sessions had to go undocumented by my easier-to-operate camera too because it was an absolute mob scene. The circle of overattached-to-their-kids parents firmly kept me away from the scene of action. Of course, on the other end of the spectrum, we had moms leaving their kids at the event while they stepped outside which forced us to deal with sudden bursts of inconsolable sobbing when the kid realised his parent was missing. But both authors (Anushka Ravishankar and Musharraf Ali Farooqi) were extremely charming so I’m going to say their sessions were brilliant anyway, even though I didn’t even hear how it went, much less see it. All hail favouritism!

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A hilarious tale about a singing monster who makes everyone around him wish desperately for earplugs

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Two kids from the planet Nopter head off on an intergalactic adventure in their quest to find a way to grow up as quickly as they can

Monday had us introducing a conceptually unique book called Home by Nina Sabnani. The style of the book was based on Kavad, which is a traditional storytelling device from Rajasthan. Multiple panels open and close like doors as the storytellers narrate their tales.

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The author also taught the kids to create simple kavads of their own. On being told that there wasn’t room for her to learn how to make one too, there was sufficient grumbling from a co-organiser that had to be distracted away.

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See that girl with the blue wig? She quickly became my favourite kid at the fest. Every day she’d turn up in quirky outfits with matching round plastic glasses. The one day there weren’t any events for her age group, she sulked at home, as her mom told me. They became such a permanent fixture at our events – daughter and mother – that the mom knew the schedule better than we did!

The last event of the day was Himanjali Sarkar‘s session about her book The Stupendous Timetelling Superdog. She spoke about her own beloved Rosseau, who was the inspiration behind the dog in the book, and inadvertently divided the kids into Team Dog and Team Cat.

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As part of her activity, she asked the kids to describe what superpowers they’d like their pooches to possess. Answers ranged from the altruistic “help the needy” to the more self-serving “do my homework” but my favourite had to be the oddly specific and completely useless superpower of being able to “spread butter and jam on my bread with a knife”.

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