Wednesday, December 28, 2011

My Grandfather's stick -Children's book from Tulika

My Grandfather'S Stick [Tamil: Yenn Thathavin Oonrukole]

Children have such a vivid imagination that they leave us stumped most times. Show them a pencil and they will show you atleast 5 different uses to it besides writing on a paper. Such is their power of imagination. In this book "My Grandfather's stick"[published by Tulika], the author takes us on a journey where the little girl makes use of the stick for things beyond helping a person walk.

One moment, she transforms into a horse rider, flying off into air on the stick[that has become her horse] .. And then, she is off camping in the wild with the stick holding up her tent while she gazes at the stars in the night sky. 

Zip zap zoom!! the stick is now a Magic wand and she is weaving magic all around... or maybe the stick will grow a pair of wings to help her fly high above the sky all the way to the moon.

Oh wait, she is not done yet! She uses the stick as a magical pencil to draw in air- a beautiful house, slide to play in, an elephant or a cycle, flowers, birds, they all come alive through the stick. When she is feeling playful, the stick becomes the line that she has just crossed on the athletic field to become the Champion!! :)

Now, how about a ride in the river, lets use the stick as the oar to move the boat along.. Row row row the boat...gently down the stream... 

Wonder what next....

She dreams the stick becomes a tall finger so she can reach for the star, maybe even touch it..oh wow! But finally, when her grandfather uses the stick to help him walk, she is the happiest... Such simple pleasures of joy derived. 


The next time you see a child playing with a stick or a box, pretending it was something else, dont interrupt them. Let them enjoy their dream, ask them to share their dreams with you... You never know, they might give you ideas! :D 




Such simple words written in both English and Tamil, the book is perfect for those who are just beginning their reading journey.. And for parents who wish to teach their child both English & tamil... Nandini Nayar weaves magic through words yet again... :)

Story- Nandini Nayar
Age - 3+
Pictures- Kshitiz Sharma
Translation- Malarvizhi
Published- Tulika PublishersLanguage- English/TamilFormat- Paperback
Price: Rs85

The review was also posted on BookRack....

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

The Saiyuki Trio

It was one of those emails listing down the events of the day across Chennai. I always skim through them, and delete the mail. But last evening, for no reason, the words "Saiyuki Trio" caught my attention. I read on to discover it was a concert to be held at Alliance Francaise at 7pm and it was open to all. The thought then faded away as i got busy with work and other activities. Around 6.45 i suddenly remembered "Saiyuki Trio", and made a dash to get to the venue. Since it was short walk from home i wasnt too worried!! 

But it was the very evening when Madam Chief Minister, Jayalalitha had decided to grace a Christmas Celebration happening near home. And the streets looked like the entire city had been kicked out of their homes, there were people everywhere, along the bridge, on the street, up and down the staircases and just about everywhere. Resembled an army of ants crawling across a piece of cake, trying to sneak in a nibble.

So, i was there at the Edouard Michelin Auditorium on the top floor, only to hear the MC announce "we are running a bit behind schedule as many are stuck across town due to unavoidable circumstances [read as JJ's visit across town]...  So, i sat there and waited .. waited... and finally, 7.20pm the trio came onto the stage set for them.

[L to R]Prabhu Edouard, Nguyen le and Meiko Miyazaki... 
[Image courtesy:]

It was one & half hours of beautiful  soulful music.. Each piece was unique, and it was a different kind of an experience... There was a piece they performed called "Sangamam" [which literally translates to Confluence, coming together] that had been composed by Prabhu....

Sangam.. Sangeetham..Sabdam..Santhosham..
Sangam... Ananda Sangam... [was how the verse went]

The Trio from various corners of the world have come together, and the music that was born out of their confluence was truly divine..... 

The Trio were- 
Mieko Miyazaki from Japan who played the Koto, a large String instrument with such ease. She has been playing this since the age of 9 and has won many accolades back in Japan... A petite lady, she also had a voice that had us all mesmerised.... 

Nguyen Le, born in Paris to Vietnamese parents played the Guitar... He is renowned for the album Purple that was released celebrating Jimi Hendrix's music...

and finally, our very own Prabhu Edouard who hails from Trichy, but has made France his home [been there since 1975] who plays the Tabla among other similar instruments.. He also plays with Hindustani flutist Hariprasad Chaurasia. He had the audience zapped, chanting, singing, clapping and ofcourse laughing away with his quirky comments...

 The Koto [Japanese instrument] 
[Image Courtesy:]
 There was this one piece composed by Mieko which she narrated as a story...

"Many many years ago, there was only One God.. he then created two gods- a man god Isimagi, and a woman Isimani.... 

One day the husband looked at his wife and asked her "My Darling, how is your body?"
She replied "My darling, my body is good, but i feel something missing"
He then told her "My darling, but i have something too much in my body, i will give you some of it to make that something missing go away" 

[now, we all knew what she was talking about and there were a few surprised gasps and chuckles among the audience..... ]

And then Mieko blushed and told us how "The husband gave his wife some of the too much that he had and then she made many babies, who are believed to be the islands of Japan"

During the course of the song, there was a section where Prabhu and Mieko belted out words and sounds that described the scene going on between the husband and wife.... It was amazing at how they were able to bring out such strong feelings through simple words and chants....

Prabhu then took the mic, and made light of the performance that had just happened saying He and Meiko were just artists, their relationshop was purely professional and that after the show he would go home to his wife and she to a different hotel... moments during the concert........

Here is one of the pieces they performed- Sweet Ganesha....

You can listen to some pieces here and some of their other performances here

The Edouard Michelin Auditorium is a fairly small one, but i have seen it go through transformation over the years, now there is Air conditioning, nice plush seats have replaced plastic chairs and the ramp outside replaced with stairs, a nice door and an overall good feel. Oh, they have also installed an Elevator...   

Sunday, December 04, 2011

Mentor Your Mind, Tested Mantras For the Busy Woman by Mamta Singh

The book i received had a very interesting title, albeit long, it had me curious to see what the pages held within... It was-  
Mentor Your Mind, Tested Mantras For the Busy Woman 
by Mamta Singh

Genre: Self help
Pages: 168
Published by Sterling Publishers

This book is a guide, rather a handbook for every woman who feels she is busy and has no time for life! There are some woman who am sure will call this book their Bible, it all depends on how much it helps you or not! 

I found it quite fascinating. Within the first few pages, it becomes evident that the Author has done her share of research or belong to the sect of women who needs some insights and tips on dealing with their crazy schedules and lives. 

For the urban women, the women of today, who look forward to carrying off the corporate job, and manage their homes, taking and maintaining their body is an essential aspect, it is not enough just being healthy.  

This book is divided into three broad categories- Mental Fitness.. Physical Fitness and Spiritual Fitness! Each of these talks about the areas that fall within and that needs to be addressed....

We see in our daily lives how many people inspite of being "Fit" fall ill, or suffer from ailments. This is primarily because of the unhealthy lifestyle, eating habits, or no control of the mind. The book talks about how valuable it is to control our mind, rather to mentor our mind, give it the guidance it needs to help detox the body, mind and soul.  

Be it Meditation, or Physical Exercises, the chapters contain not just guidelines or explanations, there are surveys and questionnaires to allow us, the readers rate ourselves. This gives much more depth to the lessons held within the pages, the words make more sense and they help us get clarity on what we need to do, or which direction to take. 

In the chapter" How can you tell it is time to see a doctor", the Author talks about various circumstances and how people react to each of them... With a little summary at the end of every chapter, there are little points given that will help make ones life better, giving them  better health , both physical and mental... 

There are interesting quotes scattered through the book, take a minute to read them, think about them and see what they really mean.... 

“The walls we build around us to keep sadness out also keeps out the joy.” ~Jim Rohn [this is a quote at the beginning of Emotional Fitness Category]

 If work or life has been bogging you down and you are looking for something to help make your daily life better, then i suggest you pick up this book and spend some time reading through the words.... There are tips, guidelines, schedules, examples, surveys and so much more that will help us define our lives and work towards making them better!  

To Summarise- The book address 6  key mental maladies, 6 of the worst emotional afflictions and offers 7 spiritual self-service techniques that  the urban woman are most commonly faced with. And this has been done via - 3 simple self-evaluation questionnaires; 13 easy-to-follow step-wise action charts, and illustrations; 20 mentoring  based schedules; and then there are the detailed 16 explanatory tables....  I can promsie you this- the book is not boring, the book is not preachy or like a lecture! It is interesting and well chalked out... 

Hats off to the Author Mamta for coming out with this book, keeping it simple and straight forward!! Good luck!