KITTOO UDAN CHOO
By Harshika Udasi. Illustrations by Lavanya Naidu. Translated from English by Bharat Tripathi.
Eklavya. Parag Initiative with support from the Tata Trust, 2019, pp.76, R65.00
The book under review has an interesting publishing trajectory. Originally published by Duckbill Books in English titled Kittu’s Terrible Horrible Very Mad Day, the background to this tale is supplied by yet another tale: of a silent revolution taking place in the Panna National Tiger Reserve in Janwar Kaisal, India’s first rural skating park. The brain-child of Germany’s Ulrike Reinhart who heads the Janwar Kaisal Community Organization, the non-profit organization is transforming the life of the rural folk. Children come in droves to the State Park set up in 2014 for children to learn to skate, to dance and paint. A unique feature is the rule of the park: ‘No skating board if no school’ and ‘Girls First’.
Kittu the lovable protagonist of this tale is left behind by his chaotic extended family on a trip to the tourist spots of Madhya Pradesh. Lost and found by an ice-cream vendor and his family, how does Kittu deal with his plight? The twist in the tale lies in a skateboard. Can a disabled boy with one leg missing learn to skate? Or not? The Eklavya team is to be congratulated for translating and publishing this page-turner of a book . The illustrations complement the text with verve and joy.