Writing for children needs simplification of concepts and language, says illustrator-mythologist Devdutt Pattanaik, who finds the process involved in such works both challenging as well as exciting.
Pattanaik recently come out with Vahanna: Gods and Their Favourite Animals, an interactive and activity book, which is tenth work in the children’s literature space. Asked about his experience with his latest offering, the author said he enjoys writing for children because it requires one to simplify concepts.
But for this process to happen, Pattanaik believes one needs to be really clear about them in their head first. “The exercise of being clear in your head and writing very simple language challenges me and excites me all the time. So I always look forward to writing for children. This is my tenth book for children,” Pattanaik told PTI in an email interview.
In Vahana, published by Rupa Publications, Pattanaik has been joined by Kerala-based mural artist Sasi Edavarad for the artwork. “I have known Sasi Edavarad for a long time. He has designed a cover for one of my books. He has painted art for my house. He does Kerala mural art work. “In this book, I truly have not exploited his full talent. I have only asked him to do the colouring for me. His real work is in Kerala murals and he is fantastic,” Pattanaik added.
According to the author, the book conceptualised the artwork he had done about gods and their vahanas (vehicles or carriers). “I was interested in doing the artwork. I kept drawing gods and their various animals and suddenly I realised I had 33 gods and 33 of their vahanas illustrated.
“I figured, why not turn this into a book? Therefore, I decided to start writing the text. I asked Rupa (Publications) if they would be interested and they were. That’s how it all worked out.” Asked if heated social media exchanges over matters involving religion, which forms the base of his writings, ever bother him, Pattanaik said it does not. “There are always people who fight on religion, this is very common. I don’t bother much with it. It is part of life. Everybody wants to have their own point of view and think that their view right.
“I don’t bother with their views. I tend to see who is saying what and what agenda makes them say so. Most importantly, I try and understand their motives, in effect, what power they are going to gain from it,” Pattanaik asserted. With Vahana now out, Pattanaik is now eyeing the launch of his essays on Dharma, Artha, Kama, Moksha. “A compilation of these is on the horizon. It is a book I am looking forward to seeing hit the stands. I am also working on a book on Islamic and Christian mythology, let’s see where that goes,” he said.
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