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Rhyme and reason

ANUSHA PARTHASARATHY
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BOOK “Oluguti, Toluguti” has 54 Indian rhymes in 18 languages

A t Kids' Central in Kotturpuram, a recent evening was drowned in loud choruses of Indian rhymes and childhood memories. “Oluguti, Toluguti”, which was recently launched by Tulika books had the children and adults bouncing up and singing, whether it was about the dosa-eating, moustached Kesavan, soda-water drinking Mir Salot, Bangla's Hattima Tim Tim or the Tamil rhyme on the guava-eating squirrel.

The book of Indian rhymes has a collection of 54 rhymes in 18 languages with English translation, and took a year to work on from start of finish. “We've had this idea for a long time, and held a blogathon on our website. We asked people to send in traditional rhymes, and had an overwhelming response. Out of these, we picked a few that appealed to us and translated them,” says Radhika Menon, publisher and managing director, Tulika Books.

A different world

“Oluguti, Toluguti” takes you to a world of elephants, buffaloes, cranes and sister Moon where you can eat a ‘karuku morukku' guava, ride the ‘chuk chuk' train, watch the flowers go ‘chemma chekka' and Little Tummy Tum Tum cry ‘weee weee'.

“We wanted to represent languages that aren't very widely-spoken as the rest. It wasn't easy to get these translated in English. We also had to do a lot of cross-checking and make sure what we did was right. We kept persisting on the idea and got others excited about it, and they flooded us with entries,” says Sandhya Rao, one of the editors of the book.

While the rhymes have been translated and adapted in English, they retain their traditional flavours and the familiarity. “We wanted to have a bright, fun book that is contemporary but with its own elements. It's a book that will never be dated, and kids can enjoy it any day,” adds Sandhya.

Aimed at toddlers and children aged below 10, the rhyme book seeks to celebrate India's rich culture and multilingual character. “We have Mizo, Assamese, Konkani, Miwari, Lotha and a few other languages whose rhymes we might not have heard. While we can't have all the languages in here, we have tried to fill the gaps by including some,” explains Radhika.

“Oluguti, Toluguti” is available at leading bookstores for Rs. 385.

ANUSHA PARTHASARATHY

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