January 20, 2016

T4Tales - A chat with the author, Pridhee

I have been a reader since the age of 8, or so I believe. I do not have any recollection of books before that. But, I know for a fact that I have always seen my parents reading, and I did try to read words in the newspaper much before the age of 8. When T was born, I started reading to her when she was around 6 months. I did quite a bit of research about the various kinds of books available, and wh which were suitable at each age.  These were mostly in English. The moment I sort a way to build a love for regional languages, I found books only in Hindi. These books in Hindi were paperbacks which are more suited for a 3 or 4 year olds.

Where are all the board books, lift the flap ones, cloth books and the so many options which you find in English? There were none in any Indian languages, and the ones which were available ... not something I would pick up for toddlers and preschoolers for sure. So, I resorted to digital media to bring some bits of the fun element of Indian languages to my daughter.

Almost a year later, Pridhee has brought to us, the very same thing which so many moms have looked for and now I hope that it will help the many new moms to bring Indian languages to their tiny people early on.

Speaking with Pridhee about the book, T4 Tales and her journey so far as a publisher and author.

And while we are at it, you can pick your copy at Shumee (India) or Amazon (US)

How did you turn from a biologist to an author?

I became a mom. The only way I could get my daughter to eat was if I told her stories or read books to her. I quickly realized that I was  reading only English books. That was when I asked myself if this was the end of Hindi in our family?  Will we have to rely on Bollywood movies for some exposure to Hindi? I thought maybe there are other parents who feel the same as me. I decided to give it a shot and that is how T4tales came alive.

What prompted you to go the board book and lift the flap route?

Kids from the 0-4 age love to be independent and are by nature very curious. As the Reggio Emilia approach says children learn by self exploration and discovery. They should be allowed to learn through experiences of touching, listening and observing. Board books are sturdy and allow children to practice their motor skills of turning pages without tearing a page. Lift the flap books add interactivity that keeps children involved and curious about what will come next. It helps them feel independent to explore and discover.

Tell me a little about Bolo Kya

Bolo kya started off as a riddle between my daughter and me. It was like a game of "I spy" but in Hindi. Kiki (our little T4tales bird) takes the children on a ride of exploration of animals, colors, parts of the body, opposites and of course a riddle with an answer.

What are you trying to bring to your readers through Bolo Kya?

A fresh way for children to read and enjoy Hindi. A book that would compete with the high quality English books (in illustrations) and content that does not always focus on providing a moral lesson. You do not have to know the Hindi script because we provide the english transliteration. It is not your usual moral story or panchatantra tale. Most of all it is visually appealing to the children.

How has your journey been so far? And what do you see ahead for T4Tales?

Going from being a full time scientific officer to a full time mom and now author has been quite a roller coaster ride. But I have found something that brings a smile to my face and am passionate about providing to the coming generation.  

As for T4tales, we have a long way to go but I do hope we are able to bring back the interest in learning Hindi to our children and our coming generations.

January 11, 2016

Been there, done that and still going back ...

When T was small, we rarely stepped out for a meal, and that was a conscious decision that B and I took as we didn't want that whole hassle associated with going out with a small person. But, this time around with V, we felt like trying what it would be like with 2 small persons tagging along for a meal :). We had a plan for lunch and then heading out to do some shopping for essentials, and we ended it with lunch and rushing back to the comfort of our home and breathing a sigh of relief.

Between T and V, both of us were either making a formula feed, feeding the formula feed, helping T with her food, walking V around to burp (and then followed by the spit up which never ever happens at home), ensuring T is not converting the place into a play area, rocking V to sleep as she is surely bringing the place down else ... I really wonder whether it mattered if they served us even the wrong order. And we had no time to wait around for the right now, so we just changed the order to suit what was served! Aaah... end result, we decided, or maybe it was just me who decided, to head straight back home.

And, now sitting here, I wonder, why did I even venture out to attempt the impossible!
Whoever said Nothing is Impossible!

In fact I question myself why I ever did think this time would be anything different. I remember once I did take T out when she was something months, and after that decided that a repeat of that meal out would be after she is at least 2 years. And since she has been 2, we have been regularly going out for weekend meals, and now I believe T misses that the most. I really need to figure out how to incorporate those outings for her.

But, all of us going out for a sit down meal, not in the next year at the least!

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January 7, 2016

T & V

When T was born, I was overwhelmed for sure and completely dependent on so many people to settle me through that phase. But when V was born, I was more prepared, but the haze which sets in was just the same. And now added to it was the guilt that I was not giving any time to the tiny 4 year old who was hoovering about endlessly.

The way T took everything which was and is being thrown at her completely in her stride, really makes me appreciate her and wonder at how she agrees to my requests. I can completely imagine myself throwing a tantrum about why my things are not being attended to... but she rarely goes that route. So, now we have a routine that once a week, I drop and pick her up from school as a special something for her, in the midst of all this craziness.

And after two kids, I feel now what it really means like having no time for myself. At the end of the day, I am just exhausted to the extend that watching half a movie does not even appeal. So now, we have moved from movie marathons, to a movie night once in a while to nothing. And as I see it, its going to be this for the next 2 years. Frankly speaking, movies I am more than fine letting go, but I wouldn't want to lose on 2 years in terms of travel. Age just moved ahead, and I want to enjoy some things with Trisha before she grows up too. I hope I do not forget that T is also growing up in the midst of the V-time.

There was a lot which I fathomed prior to V's arrival, but there are many more instances which I still stare at blankly wondering how to tackle.

I believe it will be a long journey of discovery...