Thursday, February 4, 2010

Book Review : Pampasutra

This review is written for Saffron Tree

Title : Pampasutra
Author : Arshia Sattar
Illustrated by : Shilo Shiv Suleman
Published by : The Kishkinda Trust

A story told by a river - Tungabhadra, more popularly known as Pampa. As all rivers do, Pampa has her lap of waves full of stories. She narrates the saga of her life in her own words - from her birth to various historical times to which she became a witness. She briefly recounts the legends and myths which took shape near her banks and became a part of her life - her marriage to Lord Shiva and her friendship with Hanuman - the magic monkey. Because of her friendship with Hanuman, she got acquainted to Lord Rama and watched his activities when he was in search of Sita. She discusses about various life forms which have been dependent on her water and her health - the fish in her water, birds (including migratory birds) and animals. She briefly touches the history by mentioning about the Vijayanagar Empire and giving a glimpse of the mightiness of that empire.

But now she is in a somber state because of all the ill treatment meted to her by humans. Her water has been held back forcibly by building dams, and industrial and other wastes are flushed into her pristine waters. She is imploring the young readers to save her and let her play freely as she has been doing since her birth so that she brings more abundance and bright future for all.

The most striking thing about this book is the gorgeous illustrations of Shilo Shiv Suleman. It would not be an exaggeration to say that the illustrations have actually brought the story to life. The river has been depicted as a lady with extremely expressive eyes. The part where she narrates the story of her marriage and her beautiful past, the twinkle in her eyes expresses her joy and happiness. Towards the end the mournful expression reaches the readers hearts. With the tone of story going from one emotion to another, Shilo's brush moves from one side of the colour spectrum to the other - from bright warm colours celebrating the prosperous past to dull shades in tune with the melancholy present of the river.

Some beautiful Pampasutra stickers are an added bonus on the last page.
{Image source :
Shilo's blog}

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