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When I left home for my son’s school this morning I was in a rush, and it hadn’t sunk in yet. But when I found myself seated in the audience along with other parents to be a part of this wonderful presentation, I was quietly beaming with pride! It was a wonderful feeling to watch my ten-year-old’s first book printed and displayed on the shelf for everybody to browse through.

Jay and I had both supported his endeavour by doing our best, so in a way, it had almost become a team effort. And, yet, it was totally Arjyo’s work in every sense of the word -from devising the plot, to creating the characters and then creating those wonderful onomatopoeic effects, and last but not the least, the illustrations! 

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The programme opened with a brief introduction to writing as a process which was followed by two students dressed as authors Rabindranath Tagore and Sudha Murthy – representing two popular writers in Indian Literature. They introduced themselves and briefly touched upon their work and the genre that they most enjoyed while expressing themselves.

I was a happy mother seeing my little boy dressed as Tagore, although I felt that the wig made him a trite uncomfortable!

Arjyo dressed as Tagore!

Arjyo dressed as Tagore!

Next on stage were two students, who spoke about the key steps in the writing process and why a thorough approach to building the plot and character is key to the creation of a more refined and compact story. The presentation concluded with a short literary quiz for the parents who were a most enthusiastic lot, vying to give the correct answers.

They had covered all the key aspects of writing in their presentation. As an afterthought, I felt that they could have touched on one important bit that is key to what happens to writers in real life – the fact that writing happens to be a very rigorous task and often ends up as a long- drawn process that demands patience, perseverance and practice – not quite the glamorous thing that it is projected out to be! I am sure most parents would agree to the fact that the present generation children have very little patience to sit through any task for an extended period of time – everything needs to be achieved fast and furiously quick.

Slowing down is a must, therefore, if one is to nurture the creative process from within. As a parent, therefore, there is nothing else that I could stress upon more emphatically! As I keep telling my boy, writing is more often than not, a very laborious and a very isolating process, so novice writers often find it very daunting. However, even at the point of repeating myself, I insist on one thing always – ‘ ‘Never, ever give up! Stick to it. Rework and refine till you are happy with it. Get away from your words if you feel tired or stuck. Come back to it later’. It is one method that has always worked for me.

After the programme, we were left to browse through the shelves to have a look at all the other books that were also part of the show!

It was heartening to see that many parents had taken the time off on a weekday, in spite of busy work schedules to be part of their children’s journey along this unique and wonderful  story writing process. There was a lot of interaction among the parent community and people were constantly browsing through each and every book on the stands.

Although not mentioned in their presentation, we later saw some promotional material created by the students as part of advertising and marketing their books – an exercise that has become extremely crucial for all writers today. This, I feel was a great start for the students.

Marketing flyers designed by the students promoting their books.

Marketing flyers designed by the students promoting their books.

As with most good habits and traits that need to inculcated, childhood is also the perfect time to introduce children to books and to the art of writing. It’s fine to be techno-savvy but to not develop the habit of reading is perhaps nothing short of disaster. Children need to be introduced to literature early on in life. I am of the opinion that reading in early childhood is crucial to shaping their sensibilities and their individualities in later life. This is all the more relevant in today’s context, when children have easy access to computers and other gadgets, and their dependency/addiction to technology becomes the biggest barrier to reading and other creative pursuits.

That my ten-year-old loves creating stories, is in itself a beautiful thing – but  it needs nurturing too. As a mother, I wish I can continue to provide him the support and the enthusiasm so that he continues the task of creating stories and finding fulfilment in it. 

Sharing this wonderful quote by Virginia Woolf in A Room of One’s Own: 

Lock up your libraries if you like; but there is no gate, no lock, no bolt that you can set upon the freedom of my mind.

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