Friday, 4 October 2013

Of the cruel, bad and ugly

My daughter has just started babbling.  She loves looking at pictures in story books and speaking with them. Although she doesn’t really understand what I read out to her, it scares me to think of the day that she will actually learn and comprehend this stuff.

Look at all the popular stories for children – Snow White, Rapunzel, The Ugly Duckling, Three Little Pigs et al. All of them are centered around a wicked stepmother, a jealous queen or worse still, concepts of ugly and bad!

Why would I want to drill into her that looking beautiful is even a virtue? I will someday have to explain to her what it means to look ugly. She will probably think that people feeling jealous or being cruel is acceptable, because her childhood stories revolved around these emotions. Of course, in all these stories, the good guy wins at the end of the day, but my point is – why even tell children the negative things to begin with?

I know, the sad fact is that she will anyway grow up to understand and probably use these terms in some context or the other, but I hate to be the one teaching her this. It feels like I am killing her innocence, it just feels so… wrong.

I would rather have her confuse a wolf with a wolverine, or even better, think that the wolf is a smoking hot picture of Hugh Jackman than a big bad guy who goes around blowing down pigs houses.  So instead of looking at a story book today, we read the latest issue of Lonely Planet.  :) 

But hope is not lost, because I found this wonderful publishing house based in Chennai – Tulika. Check out their stuff, it really is heartwarming and oh-so-Indian! Can’t wait to go an ransack their store! 


  1. Thanks, I am going to order books from Tulika immediately. I agree, when i read fairy tales to Rihu i get a little worked up myself. But then I remember how I used to love these tales and I feel okay :)

    I also remember sitting and telling my nieces the story of Shrek over and over again when they had become very particular about looking beautiful.

    I also like Dr. Seuss for Rihu. His favourite book is Mr. brown can moo can you? Try that.

    1. Hey thanks Diptee. Will check it out. You should definitely order some tulika books. They have bilingual books as well. If I remember right, there are some bengali options.