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A prayer and a paper crane

Readers of origami trainer Thiyaga Sekar’s recent book can fold paper cranes and have them sent to the Hiroshima Peace Memorial

Tiny little hands of children at CanKids, an organisation in Adyar that works with children with cancer, folded origami cranes under the guidance of origami trainer Thiyaga Sekar yesterday. Within the folds of each crane, they sent a prayer. The cranes are part of a consignment that will soon be sent to Hiroshima Peace Memorial, Japan. The act of folding origami prayer cranes is the core of Sekar’s recently-released book Kaagidha Kokkugal (Paper Cranes), that has been brought out by Thannaram publications.

The book, in itself, is a form of prayer, according to Sekar. “It has 28 sheets of colourful chiyogami paper, which come with various floral patterns,” he explains. Apart from an essay on the life cycle of paper, and an introduction to the artisan, the book carries a piece on Sadako Sasaki, a little girl who lived in Hiroshima when it was struck by an atom bomb dropped by the US.

Sadako fought cancer as a result of exposure to radiation from the explosion. During her days at the hospital, she believed that if she folded 1,000 cranes, she would survive. She folded every paper she could lay her hands on, including medical prescriptions. But her 644th crane was her last one. In Japan, it is believed that folding 1,000 origami paper cranes will bring good luck and health, which was further popularised by Sadako.

A prayer and a paper crane

“Our book is an effort to spread the positivity that the cranes are believed to bring,” says Sekar. “It carries instructions in Tamil and English on how to fold an origami paper crane,” he adds. “We are popularising it amongst school and college children.” The idea came up when Sekar and Sivaraj of Thannaram, brainstormed on offering something fun for children. “We wanted to present a book that didn’t place emphasis on reading, and rather encouraged them to create something,” says Sekar. The book’s highlight is that readers can make paper cranes and send it to the publishers, who will then send it to the Hiroshima Peace Memorial. The cranes can be sent through courier to: Cuckoo Forest School, Javvadhu Hills, Puliyanur village, Singarapettai – 635307.

The book is available at stall no 804, Chennai Book Fair, YMCA Grounds, Nandanam.

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Printable version | Feb 18, 2020 2:55:24 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/authors/a-prayer-and-a-paper-crane/article26024632.ece

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