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Purple Sky

The blue, pink & purple of everything under the sky

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August 2016

Where are the Malayalam books?

The DC book fair at Kochi was advertised to be the largest book fair in South India… really? Have the organisers never visited the Chennai book fair? It is supposedly the second largest book fair in India… I was able to go only once – in 2013. And there were at least a 100 stalls there compared to the thirty odd stalls here. Sheri, athu potte… 

Having lived outside Kerala all my life, my Malayalam education was taken care of my grandmother, balarama and vanitha. My grandmother taught me the alphabets and I learned to string them together reading Balarama and Vanitha. It started with a few sentences and finally I have now graduated to reading entire articles. Still my reading is comparable to a junior schooler’s reading… 😯

Now my children are also growing up far away from their roots. And I realised today at Fort Kochi, that the foreigners were able to understand what my son was speaking more than me. So this holiday, one of the high priorities in my book lists for this India trip was to buy as many Malayalam books for my preschool children. (Not that speaking English with an accent is a bad thing. But I elt knowing the mother tongue well is also very essential. That is such a simple thing, right? But apparently, no. I must have been up and down at least some 5-6 bookshops, but except for H&C books, none of them had any aksharamalas, Malayalam rhymes etc. 

So I was quite excited today when we finally decided to go to the DC book fair. Surprise, surprise! The so called “largest book fair in South India”, did not even have a single aksharamala with them! (Whereas there was no dearth for books for toddlers and preschoolers in English) 

Now this was an eventuality that I had not expected. And it bothers me, raising a multitude of questions in my head. Where are the Malayalam books? (Again I have to clarify – there were quite a number of Malayalam books for more advanced readers. My grouse is that there were NO books for preschool and primary çhildren). Am i alone in thinking that our language should not fade out with a generation? When kalikudukka and the like is selling like hot cakes every week, really, is there no market for primary level Malayalam books for reading and writing? Or is this vacuum the reason that the former is doing well? If saleability is the problem, won’t  bilingual books work? (for eg the book on fruits will have both Malayalam and English names) and last but not the least, am I ALONE in asking – where are the Malayalam books?

Harry Potter and the Cursed child -Review

The Hindu had an article about Pottermani when the book was released this Sunday, and I realised that one of the statements held true for me also. In 2007 when the seventh book was released it was my parents who bought it for me, but now for the first time I am able to buy a Potter book on my own… 😎 I was waiting for the book  on tenterhooks will be an understatement. Everytime I heard the gate open, I would rush to see whether it is the Amazon delivery man. Finally it arrived and my entire family very understandingly – left me alone. 😍😍 So after seven hours of receiving the book, here I am with my thoughts about the book. 

As advertised, this is not a book per se, but the script for the play that J.K. Rowling wrote along with John Tiffany and Jack Throne. It reads like a screen play of a movie and this is highly unsatisfying for me. The beauty of JK’s books were in the details, where she paints vivid images of the wizarding world with her words. I remember the countless times I have immersed myself in that world. I had always found new connections and meanings with every reading and it never ceases to amaze me what an intricately webbed and complex world she had created through her seven books. That complexity is obviously missing here, since this book is like an afterthought, a continuation made for the sake of continuing. (Not that I am not grateful for it – something is better than nothing, after all). And it does not seem to seamlessly continue from where it was left. Frankly, Lord Voldemort falling for a basic instinct of human kind is something that i am finding hard to digest. And since there was no indication for it in the previous books,  (the genesis for the plot began from there), it is yet again an unsatisfactory justification. Maybe you can take it as artistic liberty, but coming from JK who always left no loose threads lying in her books, the explanations given seemed… off. (once, I realised that the reason for Dumbledore’s fleeting look of triumph while listening to Harry’s recounting of Lord Voldemort’s resurrection in the forth book had its explanation in the seventh book) 

The book begins with the last chapter of the seventh book. So this sets the stage for the book – it is about the children of the wizards and witches who fought in the Battle of Hogwarts and how a chance to change the past is thwarted. 

It is an interesting storyline with the usual father-son, friendhip,  dynamics coming into play. They have brought many of the well loved characters into the story line. But I am sure that all Potter fans like me would have liked to know what happened to the other supporting characters – the Weasley brothers (why is Ron running the Weasley Wizarding Wheezes and not George?), Hagrid and the like.

And the book tries to cover the emotions and events of four years in small montages in a matter of 300 and odd pages. The book managed to well me up in all the right places, but the angst, suffering, loneliness which I had experienced intensely along with Harry Potter is missing here. And herein lies my biggest concern about the book and I couldn’t help wondering as I finished, could having used the basis for the screen play to make a full fledged book have made a better impact?

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