Friday, May 14, 2010

Chandu Pottu

Story & Illustrations by Sheila Dhir
Published- Tumbi- an imprint of DC books
Ages- 3 plus

Anushka, my daughter, loves bindis. Till recently she only had the sticker variety. A few days ago, I chanced up on a multi coloured liquid set and got it for her. Each day she wants a new motif in matching colours with her outfit. While we avoid it on western outfits, it does look glorious with a paavadai ( South Indian full length skirt).

Yesterday she discovered an extra large round maroon bindi and stuck it on her forehead and said ” This is the third eye of Shiva!!”

It was then that I recollected the book we had read a while ago. We read it again and found it as charming as ever. Presenting Chandu Pottu.

Sheila Dhir’s informative and imaginative tale opens with a little child asking her mother in wonder:
“Amma, what is that great big SPOT? It's gigantic, it's HUGE -this BIG round BLACK DOT. Right in the middle of your forehead It has changed colour today to a bright RED.”

The child compares the dot with the sun and the moon. She is enchanted as to how the bindi, chandu pottu, tilak, teep, kumkum makes her mother look like a fairy and comes in the colours of a traffic signal.

The mother talks of her childhood yearning to play adult by wearing a sari and a bindi. This is complimented by the visual of a child in a sari playing hopscotch. The mother indulges her daughter’s inquisitiveness and also talks of how often in houses you see old sticker bindis gracing mirror corners and clocks and concludes with the sentimental value of a bindi.

The illustrations are bright and uncluttered. The backgrounds abound in solid colours. The main protagonist, an adorable little girl in a shift like frock, leads you through the book. She does not wear a bindi. . Somehow the bindi is made out to be more for adults than for children. Though there is a reference to the kala tikka ( anti jinx ) for children.

We loved this book. Anush now tries to recollect the equivalents of bindi across languages and continues to want them in various colours as well.

I am sure this unpretentious and delightful book would appeal to any reader who is curious about one of India’s oldest traditions.


sathish said...

artnavy - almost the same story in our home every day!! shraddha and ranjani could get into fights because of the choice of pottus! :) while, me and sooraj watch and say with a sigh - "Girls!!!"

utbtkids said...

Wow, how lovely!

I can relate to this book on many levels.

I have are girls, with definitive ideas of how to put together an ensemble, which only means that the time to dress up goes up exponentially :)

Choxbox said...

awesome art! will look out for this one!

saffrontree at one point used to give 'bindis' (instead of stars) for books it reviewed, right?!

LOL@ sathish's comment!

and while on bindis/pottus - one of the songs in karadi rhymes mentions it - 'red is amma's bindi,..' - what a lovely way to intro colours!

Vibha said...

Medha would love to read this. She waits for her Bharatnatyam class and one of the reasons(the main one)is that she gets to wear a bindi that day.

Artnavy said...

oh what fun...boys miss all the fun I suppose.

anush is completely my opposite in terms of interst and time taken to dress up... i am super fast

how nice .... the other day i put on a Bangla bride kind of bindi style for anush!!

we love that rhyme too... though I wonder if the postman still wears khaki?? and anush would have to say black since i wear only a black bindi

sandhya said...

This post reminds me of a very funny incident. My 4 yr old niece was in a school programme on her annual day in which she was supposed to be wearing a yellow frock with red polka dots. The letter came just two days before the function. Now they didn't have one like that and my brother and sister-in-law had to go for an unavoidable shopping trip. They didn't find one anywhere, and there was not enough time to get one stitched. Finally, they found one in plain yellow that fit, and my SIL had this brainwave of sticking red bindis all over it as polka dots. It was after all only the costume for a programme, and it looked wonderful!

Artnavy said...

sandhya- incredibly innovative!

Choxbox said...

Art, saw this book the other day at a bookshop. Cute :)

Artnavy said...

chox- DC books seem to have an office in Blore- need to explore...

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