No Title
Shivani Taneja
THE GIGGLING GIRL by Rachna Chhabria Eklavya, 2022, 32 pp., 135.00
November 2022, volume 46, No 11

In the first read, The Giggling Girl felt like a simple story with 6-year-old Gargi giggling through various happenings around her, through the seasons, through the year. Over a day or two, the story stayed and kept gnawing at me. I wondered if these giggles could or should be taken so innocently. I decided to take the story to a group of children who were in the age of 7 to 12 years old and see their response. Was it the adult teacher in me who had a problem, or were children taking in the sheer enjoyment of the harmless mishaps along with Gargi?

As I translated and shared the story in Hindi, they were amused with the idea of a girl doing ‘khee-khee’ all the time. A happy girl, a girl who laughs, a giggling child is a good and important idea. But as we moved page by page, the children were not amused by the elements that made Gargi giggle. They were upset that a child was ridiculing a scared younger sibling, and felt that they would have gone to protect the baby who had hidden from the pressure cooker’s whistle.

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