Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Playing by the book

Today, my good and faithful readers, I have a modern fairytale to tell.

In a not-so-far-away land, in a time-not-unlike-our-own, there lives a lovely Indian bloggess called Sandhya. She bought a beautiful book about the sari and sent it over the seas and far away. The book sailed into the waiting arms of a London bloggess called Zoe. And the rest, as they say, is history.

Not history, actually. What follows after is a beautiful snapshot of a present - a gift, a moment in time. In Zoe's words (and pictures) then...

[The day trip to India was ] inspired by Sandhya who incredibly generously sent our family a copy of a fantastic book, My mother’s sari by Sandhya Rao and Nina Sabnani.

This lovely book is a short but loving eulogy on the comfort and possibilities bound up in the smell, texture, colours and warmth of an item associated with a person you love. The book made us all laugh (a sari is good for an emergency nose wipe!) and it made us nod in recognition (a sari – or in our case a shawl – is great for playing with, hiding in and snuggling up under.)

The mixed media illustrations have a fresh and modern feel – the use of photos of saris alongside fun-loving children drawn simply in acrylic worked exceptionally well for us. Without being heavily laden with culture-specific references the images “translated” well – making it easier (I believe) for M and J to see the children in the images, although from another country, as just like them, playing the same sorts of games and getting up to the same sorts of mischief.

Although in once sense very culturally specific, the “message” of this book is wonderfully universal – about a child’s love for his or her mother and how even just the sense of being close can bring such comfort and security.

The endpages of My mother’s sari give an illustrated step by step guide to putting on a sari – and we used these instructions to dress me when we got home! We had a lot of fun playing hide-in-mum’s-sari and wrap-mummy-up-in-her-sari-so-she-can’t-get-away… So Sandhya, even though you are very many miles away from us, you ensured we had a wonderful day together full of learning and lots of laughter. Neither M nor I can wait to go to India again!

You can read all about Zoe and M's day trip to India here.

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