Rajshree Bandodkar Karapurkar's children book Chitkulya Chinkichye Vishal Vishwa has bagged the Sahitya Akademi award. Chitkulya Chinkichye Vishal Vishwa is an illustrative, colour book written for children to simplify the scientific concept of water cycle. Chinky the baby ant is the main character and the story revolves around Chinky with her mother guiding her step-by-step at every stage in her life.
Charmiane Alexander (CA): Kudos on the Sahitya Akademi award, tell us about the book
Rajshree Bandodkar Karapurkar (RBK): Chitkulya Chinkichye Vishal Vishwa took birth when I was going through a lot of stress. During that period, my mind questioned whether I would want to continue suffering throughout or whether prefer to bring a change in my thoughts to follow a new path. My mind selected the second option and thus the book was born. This book is very close to my heart.
CA: Lovable, inquisitive little Chinky is curious about the secrets of the environment. Why?
RBK: During her journey of life, Chinky's protective mother guides her and ensures she solves her problems. Their conversation varies from philosophy of life to the understanding of different variety of ants. Also, the mother scientifically explains to Chinky the processes involved in the water cycle like condensation, vapourisation, formation of water droplets, and the clouds that float in the sky.
CA: The rain cloud, thunder and lightning is explained through colourful pictures and captivating dialogues...
RBK: Yes. There is even an explanation of how human beings cause pollution through carbon emissions, which lead to acid rain. I think it is a must-read book for students and the general public as well.
CA: So you work on the popularisation of science?
RBK: Yes! Science, elements of nature and children.
CA: Can you explain in brief your journey in science popularisation?
RBK: Definitely! I am a physics teacher, teaching rural students since 1992. I am also involved in science and environment popularisation through books and the audio-visual media.
So far, I have authored Vidnyan Yogi in Konkani on the life history of physicists. The book stresses on the hardships they faced during their childhood so that the rural children get the inspiration and thus plan their own dreams towards success.
CA: What are the tech specs of the award winning book?
RBK: It is an illustrative, two-colour (yellow and black) book printed on 90 gsm white art paper. The cover is four-colour printed on 250 gsm art card. The size of the book is 16cm x 18 cm.
CA: What has the response been from the readers?
RBK: Oh, they loved the story weaved on the positive note with beautiful illustrations hand-in-hand with the flow of the story. Many students have picked the book from the library and have reviewed it. During my interaction with them, some children came to me with a twinkle in their eyes and said, "Teacher, we loved the book". And my nephew of two-and-a-half years, was clutching the book tight and wouldn’t part away with it due to the colourful pictures. Many mothers have read it to their children too.
CA: Which is your favourite book published in the past 12 months?
RBK: I love all the creations with no special preferences. It’s an effort of the writer and the publisher. I love to read and browse through children’s literature. Also, I'm happy that a lot of books have been created for children in Konkani.
CA: Who are the important names in the Konkani literature?
RBK: Shenoi Goembab, Ravindra Kelekar, Damodar Mauzo, Pundalik Naik, to name a few.
CA: What do you read on vacation?
RBK: Books on metaphysics.
CA: What next?
RBK: I have been working on many topics and shortly, few books should take shape. Science popularisation is an effort taken to get the students to love science in easy, understandable, illustrative and colourful story format and develop scientific temper amongst children and the general public. It’s a long journey.
CA: Describe your writing drill.
RBK: Well, I focus on my dream, the dream of getting creative science to the remotest of the villages in India and other underdeveloped countries. That makes me work hard. I get the creative thoughts, themes, characters anytime of the day, sometimes late nights, too. If the topic touches my heart, I start shaping the story which sometimes take few days, months or years also. I work and rework on my story. Since its children’s literature, I have to be very cautious. Every word needs to be weighed. I get the pleasure of discussing my story with artists so that they get the right energy to build the right character. And finally, my meetings with the book designers help me to get the final satisfaction of getting the flow in the right manner. It is a long, but satisfying journey.
Rajshree Bandodkar's Chitkulya Chinkichye Vishal Vishwa
CA: What is the first thing you wrote?
RBK: My personal diary. Then I started writing articles for a local Konkani newspaper Sunaparant and a Konkani magazine Bimb. The collection of these articles of mineculminated with my first book Vidnyan Yogi.
CA: Anything you would like to add?
RBK: Such science story books should be introduced in the syllabus. Also, our syllabus and textbooks should be redesigned and made student-friendly. I would like to get my books translated into other languages so that such educational, informative books reach children in the remotest area. That’s my dream. I would want to convey this through PrintWeek India to the educational boards, so that each and every student gets to enjoy such interesting scientific books.
Notable works of Rajshree Bandodkar
- Vidnyan Yogi, a book written on life history of 24 physicists in Konkani
- Saimakaden Samvad, a book written on science and nature in Konkani
- Rajshree Bandodkar has written the following books about basic astronomy in various languages; Malabakaden Samvado in Konkani, Space Talk in English and Taryancha Vanat Swapnanchi Sahal in Marathi.
- Chitkulya Chinkichye Vishal Vishwa in Konkani
- Bondla zoo, an animation created for Goa Forest Department , Government of Goa.
- Mosquito Control! I can do it , an animated film created for Goa University and National Academy of Vector Borne Diseases