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Calling children

The reality of violence cannot be wished away in today’s world, feels children’s author Ramendra Kumar



Making an impact Ramendra Kumar signing a copy of “Terror in Fun City” for a young reader

Ramendra Kumar represents a rare band of contemporary English writers who have chosen to write books for children. “This came to me as a division of household chores with my wife, who did the cooking part, leaving me to put the kids to sleep,” said the author in jest, while reading passages from his latest book “Terror in Fun City” at Crossword Bookstore in Select Citywalk Mall this past week.

Brought out by Navneet Publications, the book, targeted at ‘young adults’ as Ramendra likes to classify children in the age group of 10-13 years, is the story of four friends – Aryan, Neil, Tanya, Imran – and Tiger the pet Labrador, who call themselves the Titans. The accidental hearing of a conversation in a hospital cabin by Aryan pulls the Titans into a vortex of suspense and terror, where they become “the hunted, from being hunters,” explained Ramendra, who has 12 books to his credit.

Use of violence

The author, who is a senior executive in a leading PSU, justified the use of violence in his novel “on the existing milieu, where children are exposed to this side of our society through various media, from the Internet to computer games”, adding, “I cannot wish away the reality”.

Ramendra, whose work has been widely acclaimed, has earned the distinction of seeing one of his stories included in the text book for class IX students of Norway, while another has been adopted as Kamishbai, the traditional form of storytelling in Japan.

Reacting to a question by writer Deepa Agarwal, who was in conversation with the author after the passage reading, about the choice of plot of the novel, Ramendra, said, “I belong to Hyderabad, and we had witnessed several riots between communities which had an impact on me; moreover when I started writing the novel in 2004, the country and the world had witnessed several carnages by terrorists”, adding, “I have always endeavoured to stay away from the stereotypes of a community or set of people; something which I have portrayed in one of my stories where an Indian soldier brings up the daughter of a Pakistan army officer whom he had killed in conflict, like a Muslim”.

APS MALHOTRA

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