Kids & Teens

says Shamim Padamsee, author of AWIC award-winning children book ‘The silly story of Bondapilli.’

Shamim Padamsee is a writer who has been through several avatars in her life – educationist, globe-trotter, social worker, businesswoman, diplomat, mother and grandmother. She is passionately interested in children’s literature and believes that books are important learning tools. Here, Shamim shares her love for writing and her experiences with writing.

On writing…

Shamim Padamsee with a group of childrenThe seeds of writing were sown a long, long time ago when I was growing up. However, it lay dormant until they started to get watered by my rich experiences in the field of education and nurtured by the sunshine brought into my life with the coming along of grandchildren.

As a child I loved to read, however due to lack of indigenous books I read mostly ‘foreign’ stories. I read Enid Blyton’s Famous Five series and other such books and realized that something was missing. Those kids were not like me. They lived differently, ate different foods, and had different festivals, in other words they were from a different world. Whilst I enjoyed the stories, I felt a disconnect. And then, when my kids were growing up again, it was the same. And so, I started making up stories for my children. Stories of Indian children, Indian animals, Indian festivals and more. I wanted my children to discover and know India.

Soon my grandkids started coming along. Luckily, however, many Indian publishers today are bringing out interesting India specific books for children but we definitely need much, much, more.

Most difficult part of writing…

The hard part is holding a pen to the paper and getting started. However, once I start and get into the swing of it, words just flow. I love writing. It is so amazing to be able to mould the story any which way you want. Right from how the story will begin to how it will end!

Unlike what most people think, writing for children is not as easy as it looks. For one thing, one has to grab the attention of the child as soon as possible the story has to move quickly and has to be told in as few words as possible. Long winding descriptive sentences that are used for adults are a definite no-no! The important thing to keep in mind is that whatever the message of the story it has to engage the child – only then will they develop a love for reading.

On her book ‘The silly story of Bondapalli’…

Bondapalli started with an episode in Chennai. My sister was visiting me. As we chomped on the Bondas, as usual we started to worry about the impact of this delicious snack on our figures. One thing led to another and soon the Silly Story of Bondapalli was born.

Infact, Bondapalli is a fun story that has a lot of play on words. I think that the child in me came alive when I started to write it, and egged on by my two little grandchildren ideas and thoughts tumbled and bounced all over the story!

I was happily surprised when I received a mail from Tulika, my publishers telling me about the award from AWIC. But, my real reward comes from the fact that so many kids are enjoying the book. In fact, parents tell me that their kids want to read the story over and over again and some are even asking me to write a sequel!

Advice to young authors…

One of the most important qualities of getting your work published is Perspiration, Patience and Perseverance. The three most important P’s! Believe me, having patience and perseverance is equally as difficult as the perspiration bit, if not more. After all you have penned down the most amazing story – according to you, the author, and then you are surprised as to why the publishers don’t all rush and grab it. Sometimes an author feels rejected, when his or her work gets rejected. Writing is love’s labour. And one must persevere and who knows someday suddenly you get an acceptance letter and feel on top of the world! So, that brings me back to the first P – Perspiration. Even after one’s story is written, there is still a lot more to do.

What I am reading…

As to what I’m reading today, it is mostly children’s books, especially Young Adult. There are some amazing books out there. I recently read the book Just a Train Ride Away by Tulika. It is set in the pre-independence era. What a great way of learning our history! I also read Faces in the Water by Puffin, dealing with the very serious subject of female infanticide in an amazingly appealing manner.

Advice to parents…

Read to your child from a very young age. Not only it is fun but is also beneficial in so many ways. One, it helps mental growth, two, it helps the child’s vocabulary, three, it will open up new horizons for the child, giving him a window to the world, so to say. If children grown up with TV as a source of entertainment, you can’t blame them for not reading!

On my next books…

I love to write. In fact, I write prolifically. Anything that catches my attention is converted into a story. Next year should see the release of some more of my stories, a series of adventures with Puffin and a couple more with Tulika.



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