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Relating Picture Books to Current Affairs...Where I Belong.

Yesterday my Instagram feed was flooded with posts about the protests at Nochikuppam, Chennai. The artisanal fisherfolk have been protesting the removal of their stalls from the Marina Loop road…a road was built right through their fish market.

(While on paper there is CRZ clearance, this clearance is debated as it is a turtle nesting zone.)

They were promised that it would not create any problems for them or affect their livelihood in any way. The fishing village and market have existed in this space long before any loop road, yet now they are accused of encroaching and a looming HC order wants their stalls evicted.


Then, at Kahani Tree...a wonderful bookstore in Bombay I picked up a copy of Nandita DaCunha‘s ‘WHERE I BELONG - Meera’s Village by the Sea’, illustrated by Kripa, published by Katha.

I hadn’t read the blurb as this was a book by good friends and I wanted a copy anyway.


When I finally got down to reading it later last night,I released that it echoed what I had been reading about Nochikuppam.



Little Meera loves her life in a village, that is in a city, that is by the beach. But when their livelihood is threatened by the construction of a fancy, huge apartment tower. When the builder plans to construct a new access road right through their village, the lives of the people in Koliwada are turned upside down. The city goes on with its buzzing life…who would pay attention to the pain and plight of this traditional, indigenous community in their midst?

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Kripa’s beautiful illustrations bring forth the colour and beauty of these communities and their villages. The gorgeous wall murals in both stories are something that I can see Kripa working on, in her gently powerful manner.

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Fictionalised accounts often help children walk in the shoes of the protagonist, see and even feel what they are experiencing. The news articles help children see that these issues are very real.

In the name of ‘development’, do we have the right to steamroll our way into the lives of those who do not have much of a voice and are quite often not ‘seen’.

How do we ensure that we respect the traditional ways of living and livelihood of those with whom share our cities.

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This book, paired together with news articles are a perfect way to raise discussions in the classrooms, libraries and homes.

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