Celebrating 75th Independence Day!

It is a glorious day for all Indians as we celebrate Independence Day this 15th August. It’s a day to remember and salute all those who sacrificed their lives to ensure that we live with complete freedom. Happy Independence day everyone! May India keeps striding ahead. Jai Hind!

Why can’t an elephant go on a trampoline?

“Why can’t an elephant go on a trampoline?” Tootoo, the Indian elephant wondered.

Why was Tootoo not allowed to go on a trampoline at the Forest Book Park while his friends were having fun? It was not because of his floppy ears, large body or big teeth, then what was it?

Find out all about Tootoo and his adventures in my upcoming book – Elephant on a Trampoline!

The ebook version of the book would be free for a certain number of days. So, you will have a chance to download it for FREE from Amazon (available globally – coming soon)! Follow this space and stay tuned. Thanks for checking in 🙂

Kids Book #Alert – Elephant on a Trampoline

Dear All,

I am happy to share the cover of ‘Elephant on a Trampoline’ with you. It will be published soon on Amazon and the e-copy would be available for #free for a limited time. So don’t miss out on subsequent announcements!

Elephant on a Trampoline is a fun animal adventure book for kids between 5 – 8 years. It celebrates friendship, diversity, and creative problem-solving!

Synopsis of Elephant on a Trampoline – “Since 1934, elephants are banned from jumping on trampolines at the Animal Book Park.

But despite this, Tootoo, the elephant really wants to go on a trampoline. But will his heart’s desire lead him to danger or will he find an amazing new way for elephants to jump on a trampoline?”

Hope you like my efforts as always. Many thanks for your support 😉

Thanks,

Shivangi

#kidsbook, #freebook, #childrensbook #bookalert

Iconic Aircrafts at the Air Expo in Minnesota

The Air Expo, organized by Wings of the North (WOTN), volunteers at the Flying Cloud Airport in Minnesota is one of the most awaited Aviation events in the area. It has been running for 24 years now and showcases an exciting line-up of warbirds, modern aviation and other fantastic flying machines.

It was a wonderful day to check out the iconic world war 2 aircrafts at the event and a memorable family outing with the kids. Check out these beauties!

C47
P41 Mustang

Photos and Caption courtesy Hubby

Small Things#36 – Bird House with Madhubani Art

Today, the kids had fun making and painting a wooden Bird House. They used wood and wood glue to create the structure and then spray painted it with white. They left it for drying.

Next, we made Patterns inspired by Indian Madhubani Folk Art on it and they went on to paint it in vibrant acrylic colors. Thank you for taking a look!😀

Children’s #Bookblogger – The Glow Show Review

I have always been an avid book reader and reviewing books gives me a chance to dive into the world of new upcoming books and learn about the authors. As a children’s books author, It is important I keep reading other books for children to fuel my own creativity and learn about what other kid-lit authors are doing. So, I am all set to review kids’ books and share my finds with you all!

Do keep checking out my blog to learn about upcoming, new, cute, vibrant and informative options for young readers. Today, I present an upcoming book – The Glow Show – a picture book about knowing when to share the spotlight

The Glow Show by Susi Schaefer (Publisher: Sourcebooks Kids) is brilliant, vibrant, heart-warming, and informative. The book is about a bioluminescent squid who is fantastic at twirling! He changes for the better in the course of the book when he learns to share his shine with friends.

I like the book because of three reasons. First, it tells a great story and has an amazing lesson. Second, young readers learn about bioluminescence and the underwater world along the way. And last but not least, the illustrations are striking and imaginative. The only thing that could have been better is a more appropriate font, font size, and color.

Go for it, if your little reader loves beautiful pictures and a great informative story! 4 Stars.

This review is based on #NetGalley ARC provided in exchange for an honest, unbiased opinion.

5 Great Sanskrit Epigrams or Subhaashitas

Sanskrit Subhaashitas or Epigrams have been a guiding light for millions. The messages are conveyed to the reader in form of an aphorism, advice, truth-based lesson, or riddle. Here are 5 great Sanskrit literary Thought Quotes or Epigrams that were popularized through word of mouth and contain beautiful messages for everyone. The authors of most Subhaashitas are unknown.

The poetic style of a Subhaashita is referred to as muktaka (independent), as the meaning of couplets is complete and does not need additional explanation. This poetic form has been compared to Persian rubai or Japanese tanka by some authors. Go on, read these to absorb some great thoughts left to us by some amazing thinkers of the past.

Funny bedtime story of the ghost on a bicycle

One late evening, two brothers, Mahesh and Ramesh were passing through a dense forest where Balluji, the prankster ghost lived.

The ghost noticed that Mahesh wore dark sunglasses even though it was dark. And Ramesh carried small wheeled luggage on his head, although he could drag it behind him. They were into some heated discussion when the ghost hovered near them to eavesdrop.

Ramesh: Mahesh, it’s your turn to carry the luggage. Don’t try to be a hero and make me do all the work.
Mahesh: Ramesh, stop complaining and walk properly or the curry tiffin for our Daadi would drop…

Balluji, the ghost was delighted. He loved curries and had not eaten them for centuries. So he planned to trick the foolish brothers.

The ghost disguised as a veiled woman and created a bicycle with his supernatural powers. He cycled near the brothers and spoke in a shy feminine voice.

Woman/Balluji: Young men, can you help a poor woman in this forest? It’s night and I am tired. I want someone to take me to the nearby village on this bicycle.

Both brothers began to fight to help her but the woman stopped them.

Woman/Balluji: Look, there is a way to decide who will help me! I will show my face to both of you. So, whoever praises my beauty first will get a chance to help me.

The brothers nodded and were eager to see her face. The woman came back to his original ghost form of Balluji.

Ramesh screamed in horror to see the ghost’s blank face with dark hollow eyes and red teeth. But Mahesh couldn’t see properly because of his sunglasses.

Mahesh: You are more beautiful than the sweetest angel…
Ramesh: What..sweetest angel??? …Mahesh, can’t you see… run, I am leaving…aaaaaa…. bhoooot…

Ramesh abandoned the cart and ran for his life. But Mahesh thought Ramesh was jealous because he had won the bet by praising the woman first. So he planned to continue his journey. He attached the luggage to the bicycle and lovingly asked the ghost to sit behind him.

As they rode the bicycle, he heard chewing and slurping sounds from behind. He turned and his sunglasses fell! What he saw was terrifying – the woman had vanished and Balluji, the ghost was slurping down his grandma’s curry.

Balluji’s red teeth were stained with yellow curry. When Balluji saw Ramesh looking at him, he made a disappointed ghost face. He even offered some curry with his skeletal hands…

Mahesh screamed with horror! And abandoning his stuff, he started to run. But the ghost chased him half of the way. “WAIT!!!” yelled Balluji.

“PLEASE LET ME GO BHOOT JI. I WILL BRING MORE CURRY FOR YOU TOMORROW,” begged Mahesh.

“I JUST WANTED TO TELL YOU THE CURRY HAD TOO MUCH SALT!!!” Mahesh continued to run but could hear the prankster ghost doubling over with laughter.

(As told to my kids as a bedtime story. @stories by shivangi)

Beautiful Images of the Woods in Minnesota!

Recently I went walking into the woods and took some beautiful shots of the trees. Hidden away from the maddening crowd, the woods showcase some of the best artworks you will ever find – in the artistic bend of the branches, naughty gurgling stream or the sudden curve of the path…!

Hope you spot nature’s beautiful art pieces in these images from Minnesota.

Stillness is where creativity and solutions are found – Eckhart Tolle
“In an age of movement, nothing is more critical than stillness” – Pico Iyer
“The soul has been given its own ears to hear things the mind does not understand.” – Rumi
“Comfort will never come to one who does not touch the stillness within himself.” – Sadhguru
“Nothing in all creation is so like God as stillness.” – Eckhart Tolle

Images – Storiesbyshivangi, Quotes courtesy Google

Small Things #35 – Do authors make enough money?

It was a delightful break when I went to my kids’ school for an Author Visit. I have virtually visited a class before but this was the first opportunity where I was directly interacting with my little readers. My sons have been quite proactive in marketing my children’s books in their school and most of their friends and teachers know me as a writer.

When I went to the elementary class, I found all the little ones eagerly awaiting my arrival – a real author! My son looked proud and embarrassed (I know the feeling). I felt all eyes on me and it made me smile. I knew they were evaluating and trying to understand me. They might have thought my Indian-English accent funny & different’. But most of them wanted to know – How do I put my books on Amazon? So, I chose to answer that question at the very end of our interaction to keep them hooked.

Although a little shy and reluctant in the beginning, they opened up after I finished reading ‘The Boy Named Joy’ to them. Their amazing teacher had projected the book on the smart screen and it was quite an immersive experience.

Do authors make enough money?

Almost all kids had questions for me but we were running out of time. However, one particular question by a curious kid stood out to me – Do authors make enough money?

Honestly, we all know how hard it is for an author to make a living out of books (traditionally or self-published). It’s even more difficult for a self-published author to make a set income because there is less support and validation. Unless, of course, with a strange quirk of luck, amazing things can happen and a book becomes a bestseller (Peter Rabbit and Legally Blonde are great examples).

But the problem was how to tell the kid the cold, blatant truth without discouraging him. I wanted to tell him that it’s all about perspectives. Realists would call an author a failure in terms of material gains while a dreamer would worship him for being visionary, motivational, and inspiring. It’s a truth that only a handful of people stay dreamers throughout their lives. They remain a child. While everyone around them grows up and looks at them with contempt for being ‘impractical’ in the ways of the world.

Isolation, derision and rejection are an integral part of an author’s life. And authors often feel pulled in two different directions – the classic money vs dreams story.

He sat there with his question, eager to get an answer. And I was weighing the pros and cons of my answer.

After a pause, I told my little reader – Authors may or may not make enough money but what they do is meaningful – they touch lives.

As I headed home after explaining to the kids about publishing on Amazon through the Kindle Direct Publishing program, I was smiling. It was a smile borne out of sheer joy and meaningful interaction.

Images courtesy Google

Digital Sketch inspired by Raja Ravi Varma

This quick digital art of an Indian lady is inspired by one of the works of the iconic painter Raja Ravi Varma, considered among the greatest painters of India. He pioneered a new movement in Indian art by setting up a lithographic press to mass-produce copies of his works.

I believe two major reasons behind the massive success of the artist (as compared to contemporaries like Pestonjee Bomanji, Rustom Siodia, and MV Dhurandar), was first, he created a beautiful version of his sitters (especially females) with large pensive and expressive eyes, full lips and curvy figures. And second, he reached the masses by creating prints of his works.

But during his lifetime, all was not hunky-dory as he was criticized several times by art reviewers. Interestingly, he was criticized for adopting Western Realism in his paintings and color choices. His works were termed ‘calendar art’ and he suffered the wrath of conservatives for his nude works. But the legendary artist lives on as generations after generations continue to be inspired by his vibrant, beautiful paintings.

A typical day in the life of artist Raja Ravi Varma and his brother

Recently, I found a book (Art and Nationalism in Colonial India 1850-1922 by Partha Mitter) that describes his daily routine. It is interesting how the master and his talented brother worked together to deliver masterpieces. “A typical day of Ravi (Raja Ravi Varma) and Raja Varma gives us a vivid idea about their professional routine. In Bombay, it was a settled existence completing commissions. For Ravi, who was more orthodox than his brother, the day began with a ritual bath and prayer, followed by a long working period, punctuated by an afternoon siesta. The work was efficiently divided into portrait commissions with tight deadlines and more leisurely production of works for the competition.”

“While Ravi Varma concentrated on mythological pictures, Raja painted landscapes when not assisting his brother in ‘more serious (portrait) work.”

The book also talks about their leisure hours, “Outside working hours, they browsed at the Taraporevala Bookshop, entertained friends, and visited the theatre. They spent summer and monsoon months in the city, going back to Kerala at the approach of autumn. During the monsoons, the paint took longer to dry and the light was ‘unsteady’. The problem of the light was solved in 1903 when the roof of their Bombay studio was glazed.”

The brothers worked on several paintings at the same time, their studio would have different paintings at different stages of completion. They often had to deal with unreasonable demands of their clients, especially women, who were “never satisfied with dress or ornaments.” And had to cater to the whims and fancies of royal patrons.

Here are some of my favorite works by the master artist, whose paintings provided a visual story to the rich Indian mythology. I hope to study and learn more from the artist by creating some more digital versions of his works.


Shakuntala by Ravi Varma
Damyanti by Raja Ravi Varma

Digital art – storiesbyshivangi, Art Prints – Google #digital #sketch #Indianbeauty #RajaRaviVarma