Aruna Patel Vajpeyi
MERA KHACHCHAR DANDA HAI; TEES KI MURGI BEES MEIN — TWO COLLECTIONS OF STORIES, ESSAYS, DRAWINGS AND POEMS FROM CHAKMAK by Kavita Tiwari, Kanak Shashi and Sajitha Nair. Illustrations by Kanak Shashi. Cover design by Bindu Joseph, Rahul and Bharat Eklavya, Edelgive & Parag Initiative, Mera Panna Series, funded by Tata Trust, 2020, 80 pp., 135.00 each
November 2020, volume 44, No 11

Mera Khachchar Danda Hai is a collection of 40 poems and pictures by children, written over a period of thirty-four years  and published in various issues of Chakmak, a children’s magazine. One page in every issue has been devoted to children’s writings and illustrations, the column titled  ‘Mera Panna’ (My Page). These poems show the creativity, imagination, dreams and emotions of children. Their observations of things around like flowers , rains, animals, birds, trees, rivers and sun depicted in their poems  are refreshing.

Written by children in the age group of four to fourteen years, the poems are complemented  by pictures, drawings and sketches, 41 in all. The title poem, ‘Mera Khachchar Danda Hai’, is about a khachchar who is very naughty, gets beaten up by all in the farm. He carries stones all day long and gets very tired at night and eats chana and gud. ‘Aakhir Kyon’ by  Aarti, a Class 5 student, is about a dog who asks: ‘After all why?’ because  ‘when I went to market a man beat me, then I went to a golgappa shop, here also I was beaten up. The same happened in the samosa shop.Then I entered someone’s house,  here also I was beaten up.’ It is accompanied by the drawing of a dog by Sandeep Bhargava, a student of Class VI.  In ‘Phoor Phoor’ . Akshita, a K.G. child, observes that a squirrel climbs a tree, then a parrot comes and then a crow follows. They fly in and fly out. The poem is written in just four sentences. ‘Ghar Se School ka Rasta’  is imaginatively  illustrated by Nilupama, a student of Class Six, who traces a road map from her home to school, detailing  all landmarks and curves using crayons. In ‘Mai Kaisa Bachcha Hun’ , Bittu, a ten year-old boy writes about his shortcomings like wearing dirty clothes, not interested in his studies or being scared of dogs, as well as his good behaviour like growing trees, painting, singing songs or observing clouds. He is full of cotradictions  and asks, ‘What kind  of a child am I’ ?

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