‘Children are more intelligent than what’s being written for them’
would come to narrate stories with morals. After listening for a while, they’d get distracted and start talking to each other, eat little things — one child would be sucking a tamarind, one would be running off to dive into a river for a swim, others would be playing games. But the Panditji wouldn’t mind because the real education was in interacting with nature. One good trend that has started these days is that of interactive play schools — they’re more disciplined and allow children to mingle with each other. But the drawback is that children can’t relate directly with nature anymore. This gap has to be filled. The attitude towards stories and literature needs to change — someone has to tell them that when you present gifts on a birthday or an occasion, you need not just give them eatables and mithai; food for mind is equally important. The nature of our celebrations must change. In your new book, you are retelling a story that is immensely popular in Bengal. How do you think it’ll reflect with children today? Simply because these are stories — it entertains them, inspires them and boosts their imagination. That’s why stories have to be told and retold. I chose a story in Bangla because it is one of the richest languages for children’s literature in India, a language which has worked more for them than, perhaps, any other language in the country. What about other languages and translations?