“The Thirsty Crow and the Crow and the Fox”, is a fully illustrated book for children between the ages of 3 and 5. It contains two popular folk tales from India.

“The Thirsty Crow” is about a clever crow that finds a resourceful way to drink water.

“The Crow and the Fox” is about a wise crow that outwits a fox, by not giving into flattery.

It is a 26 page book, fully illustrated, with easy text in order to appeal to little children, as they learn their first lessons of life.

How history seeps into the present

Urban landscape juxtaposition of rich high-rises against poor dwellings.

Image by Shelly Paul, Flickr

It was inspiring to see the young people take to the streets on behalf of Mother Earth, demanding that their governments act swiftly to remedy the situation, so that they can have a future.

A lot of these governments especially in the impoverished countries are corrupt, greedy and violent. How can anyone expect these government to properly formulate and implement the right reforms? Most importantly, how did these governments get to be this way?

Most of Africa, Asia and Americas were colonized by Europeans for several centuries. These colonizations came at a cost of bottomless cruelty and bloodshed of the native population. These natives were not just plundered and killed for their material wealth, but most significantly, they were robbed off the priceless knowledge of their heritage and culture, through decimation of their languages, religions and customs.

Author event chapters

A big thanks to all my friends and family who have cheered me on as I published my first book, “The Thirsty Crow & The Crow and the Fox”.

Last Sunday, I had my first author event at a Chapters store, in Scarborough, Ontario, Canada. It was a wonderful day, where I had the opportunity to interact with customers who walked into the store. I met the young and old, parents with toddlers (the ideal customer group), yet to be parents, don’t ever want to be parents, teenagers, men and women from a diverse demographic. I told them the stories in the book and the story of how I designed the book and made all the illustrations by just using open source software such as Inkscape and Scribus and how I published it through Ingram.

"Just as we are created anew by what we love, so we are reduced and unmade by what we hate." From the novel "Two Years Eight Months and Twenty-Eight Nights', by Salman Rushdie
lone leafImage by Shelly Paul

Perfection – Everything has to be just so

If mother nature adhered to our current definition of aesthetic perfection – largely governed by the rules of symmetry – rivers would flow in perfect straight lines and turn corners at precise right angles, mountains would be pyramids, trees in the forest would be aligned in perfect straight lines like military battalions, where each tree would stand ramrod straight, every branch attached to the trunk at an exact angle of forty-five degrees, every leaf in perfect symmetry. The ones that do not adhere to this rigid perfection would be shed by the tree for its non-conformity.

Nothing out of place. No grey areas. No anomalies. Because anomalies are viewed as irksome, simply because they do not conform with the majority. Such perfection in mother nature would not only be boring in its monotony, but would jeopardize life on this planet because of its unforgiving rigidity.

Golconda forts, hyderabad.
Image by Shelly Paul

Trolley Tales – Madras and DC

Corruption – Corrosion of functionality

Have you ever stood by the luggage carousel at the airport, watching baggage flow down the conveyor belt in large intermittent bunches?

Well, if you stood at the international airport in Chennai, you’d see a few hundred people at crowded around a carousel with their eyes fixed longingly at the vertical flaps at the beginning of the conveyor belt waiting for the bags to appear. After an interminable wait, one or at the most two large suitcases would traipse down on the pleated rubber sheets.

After it gets picked up, the empty conveyor belt would do two more rounds before the entire sequence repeats itself at an excruciatingly slow pace. The passengers – several of whom would have flown half way around the world, would have finished their disembarkation process in less than thirty minutes but would have to wait for nearly two hours before they can pick up their bags and leave the airport.

On our trip to India last year, the frustrations of the slow filling baggage carousel at the Madras airport were compounded by trolley complications.

typewriter
Image by Shelly Paul

Recently, I came across a news-post about the purported correspondence by the mayor of Dorval city, Quebec about refusing to remove pork from the school canteen menu as requested by the local muslim community.

The so called “note” contains some harsh words for the muslim community from the mayor, chastising them for not adapting to their adopted country, which seemed fitting in the context. Turns out, that article was a hoax.

The muslim community living in Dorval city, never made such a request, and therefore there was no response from the mayor or anyone. This fake-news was an attempt to divide the community by pitting the muslims against the rest of the city population. This fake news has been circulating since 2015.

return to innocence
Image by Shelly Paul

It is a sad chapter in our nation’s history when our young children, the future of this great country, have to rally for one essential need – the need to stay alive, to not be shot or maimed by somebody armed with a weapon. They are pleading for the most elemental right of every life form on this planet – just to stay alive and well.

As I listened to the videos and read the outpouring of the young people from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, it occurred to me that while we live in the United States of America, we send our children to school in war zones. They might as well walk out of picture perfect communities and well go to school in war-torn regions such as Syria or Afghanisthan.