A Collage of Memories
Rachna Puri Dhir
MY GRANDFATHER, AAJOBA by Taruja Parande Tulika, Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India, 2010, 36 pp., 115
November 2010, volume 34, No 11

As the mother of young readers, I love to introduce them to different genres all the time.After the loss of a dear family member, grief has been something we have been grappling to come to terms with, for the last few years.While it was tough initially, my children and I learnt that the person is still with us in many of the memories that we continue to share and the book My Grandfather Aajoba helped fill that void, beautifully.In the author Taruja Parande’s own words, this memoir is a nostalgic, personal narrative with small experiences and anecdotes woven, forming a collage of words, old and new photographs and illustrations. It recreates certain moments and the character of an eccentric and yet lovable grandfather. Each account varies in tone and texture to give a new experience.’ (from Taruja Paranjape’s IIDC Projects page on the web)From the accounts he kept to the way he served toast, the creator of the book has done an amazing job of making the reader (a stranger) a confidante who admires the protagonist as much as the (biased )author, the granddaughter.

In her own words, the author is ‘a dreamer and explorer, a designer and an artist’ and all of that is reflected in this 36 page coloured book for ages 7+. Artistes in India today are certainly fortunate to get such platforms to share their creativity which cannot be ‘labelled’ easily as either biography, picture book, scrap book or story book.While Taruja’s academic background and training in the fields of visual and graphic arts certainly would have helped her create this book of amazing quality, what I liked even more is the simple ideas it offers to children and adults alike to keep our very own special memories of people, places and events close to our hearts alive in simple ways. The simplicity of the script is sure to appeal to the youngest reader.The line drawings are deliberately uncomplicated.And the photographs carefully chosen.I hope more such books are made available for our children in India.

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