StoryWeaver Spotlight: Rishi Mathur

Posted by Menaka Raman on January 27, 2017

Q: What do you usually read? Which language do you prefer to read in?

I can read anything that I come across, but content on ‘how things evolve or change’ draws me most, whether it’s covered in philosophy, psychology, spirituality, life sciences, cosmology or for that matter, fiction, which I’m a bit sceptic about, in English.  

Q: Is there a favourite book / author and why is it a favourite?

There are many, but a few of them always figure in my all-time favourite list:  

'The Prophet' by Khalil Gibran for its profound thought on the basics of life, and simplicity of expression. 'Origin of Species' by Charles Darwin for the way he connected his observations with the realities of the natural world bit by bit to create this ‘enormous whole’ of knowledge. 'A Brief History of Time' by Stephen Hawkings for the way complex phenomena are explained with such clarity therein. 'Conversations with God' sequence of books by Neale Donald Walsch for the style and utility as manuals of spiritual understanding. 'Manwatching' by Desmond Morris, whom I’ve always deemed as my master in absentia, for the rich scientific study in non-verbal communication it is. And all the books by Osho, the great master, whom I could never meet. Though I learned a lot from his mate Dowser S Bhan of Nepal.

Q: You have contributed for us immensely. How has the StoryWeaver journey been?

A: Fantastic! Working for the young readers is always a joy! Wish, it continues as long as I can think and see.

Q: How does it feel when your story gets published online?

A: Nice. But, anticipating another one in my inbox for translation feels a lot better!

Q: You have translated / reviewed a handful of stories for us. Which one has been your favourite and why?

A: Ladle ka Dhol, the very first I translated still tops the list of my favourites. Also developed a special relationship with the Brahmaputra, as I travelled into Tibet through its text!

Q: What is your key driver in taking up these translations? 

A: Frankly speaking, being a communicator, I do feel ‘something for all languages,’ but I’m more bent towards the non-verbal aspects, so the key driving force behind translating books or writing something is usually for having the remittances credited into my bank account.

Q: How else do you think we can join hands in taking bigger steps for children’s literature?

A: We can. Through greater and more informal outreach programme. I am really grateful to Pratham Books for giving me an opportunity to interact with young readers in the Pink City during Jaipur Literature Festival. Sharing in person, live interactions by people from the publishing trade can take literature and readership farther than anything else.

Q: How has the overall experience with SW been? 

प्रथम बुक्स और स्टोरी वीवर की श्रेष्ठ बाल कथाएं मूलतः चाहे किसी भाषा में लिखी गयी हों, नन्हें पाठकों की दिलचस्पी बनाए रखने के लिए अनुवादक को भाषा की सीमा से पार जाकर, बालमन की कोमल भावनाओं और कथावस्तु से मेल खाती शब्दावली का ध्यान रखना ज़रूरी होता है। ताकि कहानी परायी सी न लगे। यह चुनौती बार-बार सामने आयी। और कामयाबी के साथ इसका सामना किया जिससे ख़ूब ख़ुशी मिली। रचनात्मकता के ऐसे अवसर एक अनुवादक को लेखक के बिकलकुल क़रीब पहुंचने का एहसास कराता है। दूसरों की कलम की जायी कहानी अपनी सी लगने लगती है। ऐसी दत्तक रचनाओं को पोसने का मौक़ा देने के लिए प्रथम बुक्स और स्टोरी वीवर के संपादक मंडल का आभार। इस सुखद स्वाद में जोश का तड़का लगाने का काम किया प्रथम की युवा संपादक आमना सिंह ने। झटपट काम पूरा करने का दबाव बनाने के लिए छुट्टी के दिन भी ख़ुद लगातार संपर्क बनाए रखकर ऐसी चुनौतीपूर्ण समय सीमा में काम करवाया कि हैरान हूं, पर ख़ुश हूं।

The overall experience was good. It was especially nice, because of the great motivation offered by the Pratham Books' team who sounded hard-pressed for deadlines even on Sundays, making me work odd hours at breakneck speeds, making me feel more alive and kicking than I actually am?

 Q: You wear many hats - which one is your favourite?

A: I’ve always been a nature lover, and will always be one! But being in the field of communication, I had to yield different tools during different phases of my career, more so for survival than anything else; starting with illustration work for a newspaper, to photography, project documentation for NGOs, new-reporting, editing, television production, research, teaching, translations, and even writing SOPs for students applying for overseas education and finally counselling. Working with children is best, and working for them is next!

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An Assamese book in every child's hands

Posted by Menaka Raman on October 18, 2016


"যিদিনাই প্ৰত্যেক শিশুৰ হাতত এখন সহজে বুজি পোৱা অসমীয়া কিতাপ থাকিব মোৰ অনুবাদ সফল হ'ব"


"My translations will be a success when an Assamese  book with illustrations is in every child's hand."

When we told you in a previous blog post, that Rantu Moni Deka, is a man on a mission, we weren't joking. He's translated 15 stories to Assamese on StoryWeaver, and written the first, orginal Assamese community story too!

Rantu sent us a lovely message on International Translation Day which we wanted to share with our readers.

"First of all Thanks to Pratham Books StoryWeaver for giving us a platform for doing something for the lovely kids. Learning depends on the ability to read. When children have access to enjoyable, enriching stories in their own languages, the transformation in their reading skills are visible. The sheer joy of reading stories that are engaging and capture their imagination can make children become readers. Which in turn, makes them better learners. 

Assam Govt. students have access to libraries in school, but the books are not proper for them and so the children ofcourse are not interested in them. But they love StoryWeaver stories which have been translated to Assamese. The children feel so happy with the colourful illustration and a story that is easily understood by them. If these storybooks are available in their school library and also in the village library where the children meet together in the evening then my dreams will come true.

I will encourage others to use StoryWeaver and will try my best to translate more stories to Assamese so that children can read all the Pratham Books stories in their hands."

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StoryWeaver Spotlight: N. Chokkan

Posted by Menaka Raman on September 29, 2016

1.     What do you usually read? Which language do you prefer to read in?

Like most readers, my preferences change every few years. For the previous five or six years, I am mostly reading poems (and few stories/articles) written at least few hundred years back. It is fascinating! Given a choice, I would ONLY read Tamil books :) Mainly because there is so much to read there and I am quite comfortable reading Tamil. I usually read English books for relaxation or when my work demands it.

2.     Is there a favourite book / author and why is it a favourite?

Favourite book: there are many, don't want to name a single one :)

Favourite authors: J. K. Rowling in fiction, Nammazhvaar, Kambar and Bharathiar (All Tamil) in poetry, Sujatha (Tamil) in Nonfiction.

Reason: when you read just a few paragraphs from any of their work, you will immediately know that they care for their readers. I feel that is an important skill for an author.

3.     You have contributed for us immensely. How has the StoryWeaver journey been?

Amazing. I loved the concept of infinite stories in different languages in a single platform. I am enjoying it!

4.     Could you share one big thing that you take away from this experience?

I guess the biggest thing I learnt from StoryWeaver is that stories and images don't stop within a book.

I mean, when you read a printed picture book, you are focused on it, you complete it, close it and then you pick up the second book. A similar experience is possible with StoryWeaver too; one can read each story separately and enjoy it. But, the fun increases multifold when you look at the "picture repository". Suddenly, you see all those images at your disposal; I can mix two images from two different stories and create a third story. Someone (coming from a different background) may mix those images backwards and create a fourth story. This means you have an unlimited supply of stories, most of them may not even be written!

5.     How does it feel when your story gets published online?

It doesn't create the kind of excitement I get when I see a story published in print. But then, I am not a digital native and I still love print books. So don't take this feedback personally!

6.     You have translated / reviewed a handful of stories for us. Which one has been your favourite and why?

That would be "A Helping Hand" by Payal Dhar, illustrated by Vartika Sharma.

I enjoyed reading this story which talks about friendship and fitting in. It has an implicit message, even some scientific facts, but they don't disturb the story flow, which fills us with positivity.

7.     What is your key driver in taking this up?

Very simple, I like writing, and I keep looking for new ways to write and learn. As I told earlier, StoryWeaver gives me unlimited options to do so.

8.     How else do you think we can join hands in taking bigger steps for children’s literature?

I know there are many kids' books (stories and images) which are in public domain. I feel StoryWeaver can have a crowdsourced project to bring them to its platform.

Also, given the fact that many of your target audiences may only understand their regional language (even their mother tongue) and can't read, you can think of adding the audio capability to story pages. I mean, one volunteer can read the story and hundreds of kids can listen to it, even if they can't read that language.

9.     How has the overall experience with StoryWeaver been?

அருமை! ஒரு வாசகனாகவும் எழுதுகிறவன், மொழிபெயர்க்கிறவனாகவும் StoryWeaverஐ மிகவும் ரசிக்கிறேன்!

Excellent! I love using StoryWeaver as a reader and as a writer/translator!

10. What’s the secret behind your awesome professionalism?

Ah, finally an easy question :)

My teachers (in and out of school) taught me that professionalism is as important as (if not more important than) the talent. I am just trying to follow their advice. If at all I am doing well on this aspect, credits should go to them!

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