Little Flower Shefali and Other Stories
Seagull Books, 2000 - Children's stories, Indic - 52 pages
Somewhere. . . is a lullaby in prose, a delightful little tale about a child who pesters his sleepy aunt for a story, only to fall asleep before the end. Shefali is a little girl who is put out to work as a maid by her parents who cannot afford to feed her. She starts to learn how to read and write, facing ridicule and gradually overcoming her inhibitions by coming to terms with her own inner creativity. In Their Friend the Smoke Person a brother and sister befriend a mysterious stranger, a smoke person who appears and disappears at will. Meera Mukherjee was one of India s leading sculptors, whose bronzes, inspired by wax-technique of the tribal dhokra craftsmen, have made her a major name in contemporary Indian art. A multi-faceted personality, she has worked as a cultural anthropologist, studied and practised music, written, sketched and drawn. Her involvement with the life of the village where she did her bronze casting led her to evolving creative and income-generation projects with the women and children. Whimsical, impulsive and deeply sensitive, her art moves easily from the physical to the spiritual, from nuanced detail to symbolic abstraction. It is this quality of simultaneously inhabiting both the everyday life and fantasy co-exist as in a child s imagination, that comes to life in this collection of delightful stories, written and charmingly illustrated by her. Simple, tender stories, peopled with children off our streets and from our villages, stories full of wonder and whimsy in which the magical often transforms drab reality and becomes another way of seeing it. Her lively sketches and drawings enliven the text, and the result is a set of tales rich in unusual characters lovingly drawn by Meera Mukherjee in this set of unique artist s books marked with her unmistakable personality and style. Anjum Katyal is an editor based in Calcutta. She has several translations to her credit.
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