Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Blogging about Bondapalli

I generally write stories that are factual, a sort of creative non-fiction that I spend months researching, as in the case of Birdywood Buzz.  For this story, I researched the looks of the birds, their special attributes and their behaviour.  I also had to ensure that all the birds mentioned in it could be seen in an Indian jungle, and maybe some even closer home, just in case my little readers went looking for them.
However, writing The Silly Story of Bondapalli was a ball all the way through. The child in me emerged and bounced all over the place, very much like the Bondapallites. 
The story was born one very rainy day as my sister who was visiting me from London, and I, sat in our verandah watching the downpour in dismay.  The flooded streets had shattered our plans to go shopping. 
Just then, the cook walked in with a plate of piping hot bondas.  We reached out to this very welcome distraction and soon gobbled up the entire plateful.
“I wonder what this will do to my figure?” I said, as I licked my fingers. 
“No doubt we’ll soon look like bondas ourselves,” my sister replied.
We imagined ourselves nicely rotund having a rollicking time, rolling here, there and everywhere.
As we laughed a little bulb flashed in my head.
A story!  A story!  I put pen to paper and began to write furiously.
Soon after, I left for my annual pilgrimage to the USA to visit my grandkids, aged 6 and 10 years and bounced the story off them.
I have to confess, I felt terrible about taking undue advantage of my captive audience.  But then, I found that instead of quietly slinking away, as kids; especially ten year olds tend to do, they were actually enjoying the story and happily rolling it along. 
Finally, on a beautiful crisp and cold winter’s day, the story was done. 
“All too soon,” said my grandchildren wistfully.
With a wish and a prayer, it winged its way to Tulika. 
“We love it,” they said to my utter delight. 
But that’s not the end of the story.  Not yet.  There was more work to be done.  The able hands of the editors Sandhya and Deeya, picked it up and closely examined it.  They sharpened their knives and chipped and chopped.  Sliced and diced.  Stirred and whirred. 
And then they pinched, “Ouch!”  They prodded, “Oof!”  And they pummeled, “Aahhh!”
Finally, The Silly Story of Bondapalli was ready to be served. And, the delighted chef (sorry author) danced with joy.

-Shamim Padamsee

Postscript: Here's some bonda art that did not make it to the book. Go ahead and name the bonda characters. We'll do one for you: Bonda Man. Ha. That was easy. Your turn now.

1 comment:

  1. Must tell you this - I am a first grade teacher and my kids absolutely loved A Silly Story of Bondapalli. I think the story just absolutely gives wings to their imagination and they love the bouncing and the rolling and the roundness of the characters. It's become one of their absolute favorites! Thank you so much for your BONDAFUL story!!


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