(friend Sonja Chandrachud's session with ghouls and goblins galore )
Participating in Bookaroo 2010, recently held in New Delhi, was an amazing experience. Personally, it was reliving my childhood when students of city schools sat around me enjoying a daramatized reading fom Riddle of the Seventh Stone. Anita Roy, my ever supportive editor from Young Zubaan was lively and exuberant as ever. The best part was when the youngsters caught up with me later and mobbed me for autographs and said the session was "awesome".
Obejctively sepaking, while the enthusiasm is contagious and the number of visitors are increasing exponentially at India's first and biggest children's literaure festival, there's a long road ahead. The vast majority of our millions of educated middle class parents and teachers are yet to be convinced of the importance of inculcating a love for reading among young people. Parents will readily spend hundreds of rupees on fast foods and junk foods, but books, no matter how well written and produced, are widely considered a waste of money.
Also, we are yet to overcome the colonial hangover. A large number of Indians still consider Indian books to be inferior in standards to foreign books.
There are plenty of people who do not want to read, who know all there is to know and don't care about anything else.
And, there are also events like Bookaroo. May there be many more! Here's my complete roundup published in Deccan Herald