CHENNAI: History shows you don’t have to be old to write a book.
Anne Frank, whose diary about the Nazi invasion of Netherlands has been translated into more than 60 languages and made its way into our history classes. Dorothy Straight was all but four when she penned How the World Began, for her grandmother in 1962, and Daisy Ashford who earned fame for The Young Visitors when she was nine. Meanwhile, in the city, seven-year-old Vaimitra Chandrashekar is all set for the launch of her first book Take a Break, at Odyssey, Adyar, today.
Visibly excited about the event, she say, “I have poems on flowers, strawberries, cats and a rat and many stories about different situations,” she gushes. “My book will have 10 stories and seven poems.”
Like a lot of us, her introduction to the world of reading was through the pages of Magic Pot, acquainting herself with Luttapi, Mayavi, Swanky the donkey and Dilly Willy. The Class 2 student from the Pupil-Saveetha Eco School tells us that while most of her characters are imaginary, she does draw references from her own life. “In one of my stories, a girl’s parents gift her a telescope and when she looks through it, she feels like she’s out there in space. I like space and I hope to become an astronaut someday,” she smiles.
So what does she do when she can’t find the right words? “I usually drink water or just relax and watch TV.”
As she tells us what to expect from her book, she says her favourite part is a chapter called Funny Town, with a number of characters of different shapes. “Funny Town has so many characters that are so innocently imagined. Small things like a water droplet have been personified and it’s nice to see that level of imagination when you’re reading something,” her mother, Maya adds.
Vaimitra began writing as a hobby, scribbling little stories at the back of her rough book during her free hours. “My parents, teachers and friends encouraged me a lot when I showed them the stories. They said they were very creative and that felt good to hear,” says Vaimitra.
The child author is a proficient student, with accolades in academics and winning the Marrs Spelling Bee too. Besides these, she also has an interest in arts and music, loves painting and playing the keyboard, having featured in Put Chutney’s Vande Mataram cover last year. Her maiden writing venture also features her illustrations.
In a day and age where children are increasingly moving away from the written word towards the many facets of digitisation, a little girl who reads the newspapers and goes to a store to pick up her copy of books is indeed a welcome sign for any parent.
Ahead of her book launch, we ponder if she wants to become a full-time writer, a prospect she doesn’t rule out. What will she do with all the money, we ask her, to which she innocently says, “I will earn millions and then buy myself stuff and save up most of it in my piggy bank,” with a little giggle.
Calling her parents her go-to place for opinions, the young girl also hopes to write about them someday. Her parents, meanwhile, both mechanical engineers, are drawing inspiration from their little one on taking to the pen and paper. “I write for my company newsletter while her father used to write short stories in Tamil when he was a child. He has even penned a couple of chapters that he is secretive about. So yes, we have been inspired,” adds Maya.
As we speak, Vaimitra is also incidentally penning her second book based on a brother and sister and their shenanigans.