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Deepali Shukla
50 GREATEST STORIES FOR OLDER CHILDREN by Hachette India, 2021, 576 pp., 599.00
November 2021, volume 45, No 11

A collection of 50 stories! Stories that have been read and known worldwide. They take readers on a journey into the time that’s part of history. Through the book, we meet characters from history and mythology, encounter stories from various older generations and also get a sense of how the then human relationships and society would have been like, across different parts of the world.
This collection consists of renowned stories by some eminent litterateurs such as Leo Tolstoy, William Shakespeare, Oscar Wilde, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Anton Chekhov, Rabindranath Tagore, Premchand and Sukumar Ray.

I started with ‘Idgah’. I had read it as a text-book chapter, back in school. In the following years, I also had a chance to read and listen to many of its renditions. To talk of this one, which is translated by Sara Rai, has kept the original feel of language intact. As I read, some of the incidents literally came alive before my eyes. Be it Hamid’s visit to the fair in ‘Idgah’ or when he justifies why the tongs he had bought were best of all, or how he constantly thought about his Ammi and Abbu; the then social setup conveyed through Hamid’s story does prod the readers into some thinking. Even those who may have read an abridged version of this story before, can still discover new takeaways while reading the original version.

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