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Ratna Manucha

Ratna Manucha

Ratna Manucha

Well, my writing routine is pretty organised. Most evenings are spent in writing. I jot down ideas whenever they pop up in my head – sometimes in the most unexpected of places and times! I do try and keep a pen and diary in my bag at all times. I plan my work in such a way that my assignments are completed and sent before our school closes for the summer and winter break.This way I also take a little sabbatical and come back with renewed vigour and fresh ideas. I find wonder and joy in the little things of life and that is what I love writing about. In the words of the Trolls, ” Life is full of cupcakes and rainbows!” I am always looking for a pot of rainbow at the end of all my stories…they just have to have a happy ending!
After a long lull, definitely things seem to be looking up for children’s literature. Slowly but surely, some new publishers as well as some old ones too, are taking a renewed interest in children’s books. Stories in comic form have made a big and welcome comeback- the theory being that pictures spike a child’s interest and encourage them to pick up a book.
Children’s Book Trust had asked authors to write a motivational story about a real life hero for young adults. Being from an army background ( my husband being from the elite Brigade of the Guards), there was never any doubt in my mind about whom I was going to write- it had to be Albert Ekka,( the first Param Vir Chakra awardee in the Indo – Pak 1971 war) for The Brigade of the Guards. For me, he was an unsung hero as I always wondered how many people knew about his heroic act . So when an opportunity presented itself I grabbed it. It was a prize winning manuscript and will be out in book form later this year.
To be honest, it wasn’t a decision at all! One afternoon, as I was eating lunch, words of Red Riding Hood started dancing round in my head. I left my lunch, sat down and wrote Red Riding Hood in humorous verse in one stretch. Soon after, Cinderella and Goldilocks and the Three Bears followed and a book was born. There is a little child in me that refuses to grow up and the whimsical in me pops up now and then!
These fairy tales always had a sinister element- the big, bad wolf, the wicked stepmother and Papa Bear- but my rendition of these fairy tales has got a fun element and I visualise my young readers giggling as they read the book!
I would not say tough, but the book where I put in my heart and soul was Param Vir Chakra- Albert Ekka. I had to be very careful about taking creative liberty while writing the story as I was writing about a real life incident.
Story–telling for one is very important . Children are witness to so much of violence in their day to day lives – thanks to social media and the internet. It is imperative that children still see the wonder and are able to fantasise and dream because that is what encourages creativity. I would urge parents to encourage their children to read books especially stories with morals, which teach them empathy. In today’s fast paced world, where ethics are a thing of the past , Moral Values as a subject must be given due importance…not just in books but in day to day situations.
Ratna Manucha is the Founder – Principal of the Little Flower School, Dehradun, which was established in 1996. A prolific writer, her writing style is simple and easy to understand. She is particular about the vocabulary young children should be exposed to. Most of her stories and poems have subtle humour. A personal touch is added to each piece as she visualizes each illustration in great detail. She has thirty-one published books to her credit which include books on course content in English grammar and literature, short stories and poems, some of which have also been translated into Hindi. She conducts workshops on Early Childhood Training for parents and teachers. She is an avid storyteller with a vivid imagination and also conducts story-telling sessions and workshops on the ‘Art of Storytelling’ in collaboration with the National Book Trust.