My Gandhi Scrapbook

I saw Google incorporate the face of Gandhi into their logo first thing this morning. I was reminded of this book. Her aunt had given it to her on her birthday. I pulled it out of my saved-for-later stash and turned to look at the back cover. For all ages it said. I flipped through to make a quick judgment of the content before I presented it to her. I smiled and beckoned my little one.

My Gandhi Scrapbook, compiled by Sandhya Rao at Tulika Publishers, India.

A very warm and casually written introductory note from Sandhya talked in simple terms about scrap booking and went on to encourage children to add to the collection in the book. We flipped and we saw Gandhi everywhere! I can’t help but verbalize a scrapbook here, now that I actually saw one, a well-made one. Photographs and images of currency and postal stamps bearing his visage were splattered all over. Tags, comments and labels floated near them with little details. She took her finger here..there. Mine followed hers. She then took the book closer to read finely printed letters on a vintage photo. Colorful art, monochromatic photographs and handwritten patches carried tidbits of his life, style and work.

Beyond the images of currency, were a bunch of thematically assembled photographs. All were sightings of places (streets, squares roads, parks) from around the world, carrying placards with his name. We turned the page, and saw more caricature. On this page, was a tip to create a quick Gandhi doodle. She giggled. But then came a spread of vintage black and white photographs of Mohandas, in his boyhood and adolescence (and of the bald old man we all love). Another couple of pages showed how omnipresent he is, even today. This was conveyed through images of magazine covers, child art and hoardings. Beside these were little bubbles loaded with bite-sized facts about the Mahatma. The neat bonus was a few sheets left blank for the child to collect more such wonderful scrap!

You get the idea now, I suppose. And so did my 5 year old. I watched her hold on to the book and gaze at the photographs even as I walked away thinking that every kid reading this book is sure to find him cool just as she did!
Digestibility. We all look for this attribute when it comes to presenting history, religion or mythology to our children. And this book takes good care of this.

Live simply that others may simply live – M.K.Gandhi. I pull this out from a yellow blob in this book, as we celebrate a hero’s birthday today!