Sunday, April 27,
Fun time with devtas & demons!
Tales of Fabled
Beasts, Gods and Demons
by Bulbul Sharma. Puffin Books. Pages 112. Rs 199.
of your parents might have a bone to pick with me. The new session
has barely begun and I am already asking you to take a break and
escape into the world of demons and devtas of Indian
mythology to which Bulbul Sharma has opened a door for you with Tales
of Fabled Beasts, Gods and Demons. The timing is not right, they
might argue, but when one is talking about the ageless, timeless
tales from mythology, the issue of time becomes irrelevant. There is
no reason why their appeal, undiminished as it has been through
centuries of telling and retelling, should be allowed to fade in the
shadows of demanding curricula! And children, my bet is your parents
will ask to borrow this book when you are through reading it because
it reminds them of the long-lost thrill of their own childhood.
This is a world of
drama and excitement populated with beings with magical powers and
mind-boggling abilities. It might be unlike anything you have known
or seen so far, but one thing is for sure, you will have plenty of
fun as you accompany these gods and beasts in their many escapades.
You can meet Vaataapi and Ilvala, two cunning rakshasa
brothers who are careful to invite "only plump and well-built
young men" to dinner so that they can make a meal of them. Hold
on tightly to the tail of Hanuman, the playful Monkey God, as he
leaps towards the sun, but take care not to laugh too loudly when he
almost swallows it, mistaking it for a ripe fruit! Applaud the might
of Devi, the Mother Goddess, when she slays Mahisasura, half-man,
half-buffalo, whom the combined might of all the devtas
couldnít destroy. Find out why serpents have forked tongues and
why eagles prey on them. Join a group of children your age in a game
of hide-and-seek with the clever cowherd Krishna who knows the best
hiding places in the jungle. Meet the ruthless demon Agha who turns
into a giant serpent and swallows whole the child Krishna and his
playmates. Slip into the shadows of the dark and forbidding forest
Dandaka to catch a glimpse of the terrible demoness Tataka, but be
careful to stay out of sight otherwise she just might gobble you up.
Learn about the mighty sage Agastya whose power was such that even
the mighty Vindhya mountains bowed down to touch his feet.
Written in simple, everyday English, these stories will not have
you reaching for a dictionary. Read them and watch the lively
beings come alive in your mind, stretch your imagination and
become one with these larger-than-life characters as they get
involved in one adventure after the other on earth and in heaven
and hell. And if ever your imagination fails you, striking,
vivid illustrations by Sujata Singh take over the task of giving
a colourful representation to these beings.
So if you love
reading, pick up this colourful, slender volume and spend some
unforgettable time in the company of Hanuman, Raktabija,
Virbhadra, Hidimba, Kumbhakaran, Garuda and other equally
interesting characters. And even if you donít, pick it up,
nevertheless, for youíll have something to get your parents to
read out to you on hot summer afternoons when outdoor play is
impossible or late at night when the devtas, asuras,
rakshasas and yakshinis leap out of the pages of the
book and enact their fantastic tales under the cover of
darkness. And watch as these wonderful legends work their magic
on your mom and dad and make them forget, for some time at
least, discipline, studies, timetables and homework, as they
step back into their own childhood when, with wide-eyed wonder,
they too heard the same stories.