It is the mango season in India and the delicious juicy fruit is being devoured by one and all. But there’s a little more mango-licious delight as author Natasha Sharma’s ‘The Good Indian Child’s Guide To Eating Mangoes’ has been published and it teaches kids the art of consuming the King of Fruits. In a chat with Latha Srinivasan, Natasha Sharma talks about the book and how eating a mango is part of Indian. culture and an unforgettable experience.
NewsX: Why mangoes in particular?
Natasha Sharma: I am a mango maniac and nothing defines an Indian summer or the feeling of summer as a juicy mango on my plate. I think that moment of sweetness, the juice dripping down and sticky fingers are all things that a child or adult in India can identify with. Friends living in places where mangoes aren’t so accessible, crave for them.
The Good Indian Child’s Guide series aims to take things intrinsic to India and present a tongue-in-cheek exploration of the subject.
The series had to begin with ‘The Good Indian Child’s Guide To Eating Mangoes’ because how could it not?
NewsX: And why ‘good Indian child’? What constitutes a ‘good’ Indian child?
Natasha Sharma: In the context of mango-eating, with one mango on your plate, would a good Indian child be the one who shares it with others or would a good Indian child be the one who fully appreciates the king of fruits and gobbles it up by herself? Does relishing a mango in all its glory, stickiness everywhere make you a good Indian child or eating it in a la-di-dah way with a fork make you one?
Eating mangoes calls for serious introspection into such earth-shattering questions. I aim to do this with every subject to really decipher what is this ‘good Indian child’?
NewsX: How has the response been to your children’s books in India? Are kids avid readers here?
Natasha Sharma: I’ve been fortunate that children across India have loved my books. From my first book, Icky, Yucky, Mucky to a recent picture book, Princess Easy Pleasy and the award-winning History Mystery series, I’ve been blessed and lucky that my stories have found readers everywhere.
I write with humour and I think that connects with children across age-groups.
Kids here are avid-readers. I find more children reading today than I saw when I was growing up. The availability of books across genres and with the Indian children’s publishing industry producing new, break-out, contemporary voices in writing and illustrating alongside evergreen gems, it all contributes to more choices for children to find the books they love.
NewsX: How did you develop an interest in writing children’s books?
Natasha Sharma: I always wrote for myself and friends since I was a child. With my two children and an exposure to children’s literature with them, the writing veered into children’s stories. I realised I loved writing children’s books and it felt like a dam of ideas had broken open. When you love doing something so much, it’s the only thing to do then!
NewsX: What next for you?
Natasha Sharma: More books! Work is underway on the next book in this series called The Good Indian Child’s Guide to Playing Cricket.