31 July, 2021

Swadeshi Ditties

It's time up for Jack 'n' Jill. Make way for new rhymes.

Swadeshi Ditties

WHEN Montessori-method-trained Rukmini 'Ruku' Ramachandran, 31, found herself recoiling in distaste at having to teach asinine Hickory Dickory Dock-esque foreign nursery rhymes that bore no relation to their Indian reality to the 63 kids in her four-year-old Supraja Montessori School at Madras, she didn't just sit and crib. She composed her own instead. No less than 29 of them. Not to count the three two-and-a-half minute long narratives targeted at five to seven-year-olds "who understand it's fantasy and fun, not serious".

 Next she roped in a classical guitarist friend Vijji Cheyyur, 35; fellow teacher Priya Nandan, 30; her niece Akhila Ramnarayan, 23; and nephew Abhinav, 13 and recorded her compositions. All in just four weeks. Modestly she refuses to hog credit. "Joint effort, really, by all of us equally fed up of unrelated colonial hand-me-down ditties." Sample swadeshi ditty: "Up, up, goes my umbrella/on a rainy, rainy day/ walking with my big umbrella /keeping all the rain away."

Kalakshetra Publications which funds the...

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