The Happy-Maker: A book is born

Well, the idea of writing my first children’s book germinated one evening, as I was feeling particularly low.

In times like these, I always think of my grandmother, whom I was very fond of, while growing up. I think of resting my head on her warm lap and drifting off to sleep with her rhythmic patting on my back and her rather hoarse but soothing voice, telling me one of her many stories (some of which I suspect she made up on the go).

The smell of her well-oiled, shiny long hair permeated in the air – a mixture of gooseberry and coconut oil- which for me, is still the most comforting aroma in the world.

I’d often badger her to tell me my favorite story – the one with ‘Phool kumari’, a beautiful princess who lived high up in the Himalayas, amongst goats and cows, birds and trees.

The story remained the same throughout the years, but her animated, spirited story-telling made all the difference, each time.

That gloomy evening, it was her sweet memory that had me so overwhelmed with emotion that I found myself remembering each and every word of that story.

By the time the story was over in my mind, I was sobbing, not out of sadness, but just a sort of catharsis. I felt light, happy and full of enthusiasm.

I got off my bed in a tearing rush, I penned down my grandmother’s story for my own daughter, Mira. I hoped that someday, when she’s in need of a hug, she will be able to draw the same kind of comfort and warmth from my grandmother’s story.

That gave birth to the idea that I could tell this story not just for my own daughter but for other children as well. I could illustrate it and make a book out of it!

And so my first book was concieved.

The first draft was written in about 20 minutes on my laptop, at the edge of my bed. But of course, it wasn’t until two months and 6 other drafts later, a refurbished, polished and embellished adaptation of ‘The Happy -Maker’ was finally ready.

My grandmother was my happy-maker and hence this book is dedicated to her. Today, she’s no more but her memories live on through her stories, making her part of my everyday life.

With this book, I hope she’ll be part of many more.

Illustration: Mithila Ananth

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