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COVID-19: Two Kerala friends come out with Instagram story for children on the pandemic

Cover of ‘Kovynintee’ Instagram story

Cover of ‘Kovynintee’ Instagram story   | Photo Credit: Special arrangement

Instagram story ‘KovyNintee — Diya Gets Battle-ready’ by Arjun Sankar and Anjali Anil looks at the coronavirus pandemic from a child’s perspective

All there is to hear nowadays is talk and worry about something the adults call ‘KovyNintee’. Sounds funny. I just can’t seem to hold it in whenever I hear the name.

Little Diya is perplexed about ‘KovyNintee’, rather COVID-19. She wonders why she has to stay at home during the summer vacation, why her parents are not going to work and why her mother asks her to wash her hands so often. That’s when her mother tells a story — about the ‘gangs of naughty monsters running around and scaring people’ and how she can fight them by staying indoors and protecting herself using ‘the potion called sanitiser’ and a mask.

COVID-19 lockdown has inspired many artistes to unleash their creativity and among them is Arjun Sankar and Anjali Anil. They have come up with ‘KovyNintee — Diya Gets Battle-ready’, a children’s story on Instagram. Arjun, an architect, and Anjali, in her final year of architecture course at Holy Crescent College of Architecture, Aluva, look at the pandemic from a child’s perspective, with Anjali writing the story and Arjun doing the illustration.

Arjun Sankar

Arjun Sankar   | Photo Credit: Special arrangement

Arjun says he struck upon the idea from a video of his five-year-old niece, Vibha Sooraj, in which she talks about the virus. “It is hilarious when she says that we should chase it away. She advises people not to step out their homes and to wash their hands and use a mask. That’s when I thought about the possibility of looking at the situation from a child’s perspective,” says Arjun, a native of Thrissur.

Anjali Anil

Anjali Anil   | Photo Credit: Special arrangement

He discussed the idea with Anjali, his junior from college, and that’s how the story materialised. “It was her idea to keep it as ‘KovyNintee’, as that’s how a child would pronounce the word,” he adds.

Anjali says that Diya has been modelled on Vibha, with her dress, hairstyle, body language and actions incorporated in the illustrations. “After I saw the video, he sent me the initial sketches. Then I started working on the story,” says Anjali, who lives in Kochi.

From ‘Kovynintee’ Instagram story

From ‘Kovynintee’ Instagram story   | Photo Credit: Special arrangement

Running into 10 sheets, including the cover page, Arjun says they visualised the virus as a monster to make it easier for children to understand the concept. “Most of them wouldn’t know what a virus is whereas they are familiar with monsters through stories and films. I have kept the drawings colourful keeping the children in mind,” says the 24-year-old.

Anjali, 23, adds that although the story targets the little ones, the message is for everyone out there. “We plan to work on another socially-relevant topic,” Anjali adds.

You can check out the story on the Instagram page, arjunsankarps

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Printable version | Jul 7, 2020 5:19:07 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/children/two-friends-in-kerala-come-up-with-instagram-story-on-covid-19-for-children/article31279586.ece

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