‘Sponsor underprivileged girl child education to see the change’ says Author Bhakti Mathur
Bhakti Mathur grew up in Delhi but now settled in Hongkong with her husband, two sons and a beloved golden Labrador. By profession, she is a banker but her love for books started from a very young age. Her mother was a librarian and as a child she spent many hours in the library. Today she is known for her ‘Amma Tell Me’ books – A series of picture books about Indian festivals and mythology for children in the three to nine year age group. Her series has grown with books on the festival of Diwali, Holi, Ramayana, Krishna, Ganesha and Hanuman. When not writing, working, or running after her boys, she is happiest curled up with a book and a hot cup of chai.
She speaks to OFFDHOOK on International Women’s Day.
You seem to be doing multitasking. You work as a private banker, take care of home and kids and then you also author a series of books. How do you manage to do all this?
Thank you for the complement! It is easier than it looks! I think doing one task at a time with all your concentration is what works for me. The issue is to find time and in that regard I have to say I am lucky! I have a supportive husband who is also a doting father – happy to take over caring after the kids when needed. I also have very good domestic help, which reduces the time I have to spend with household chores. And I don’t watch much television. That certainly frees up a lot of time. So helpful husband + good help at home + no TV = Time!
Does it get stressful at times? And what you do to relieve the stress?
No it doesn’t. I really enjoy my family, my work and my writing. I think if you really like what you are doing, the experience is enjoyable no matter how hectic things sometimes get. Yes, I do sometimes wish that there were more hours in the day.
How did the idea of publishing picture books strike you?
The real motivation for writing the ‘Amma Tell Me’ series was to share with my sons the fascinating stories from Indian mythology that I had grown up with. But I found that there were no resources that were simple to understand and that captured the rich imagery of mythological India that is such an integral part of these stories for me. So I went ahead and started writing the stories in a style that I think kids find fun and non-preachy and collaborated on the illustrations to bring out the imagery that I want my stories to convey. I set up my own publishing company, called ‘Anjana Publishing’ (the inspiration for the name came from Hanuman as Anjana is the name of his mother and Hanuman is my favorite God) to publish the books.
How would you like to celebrate International Women’s Day?
It is sad that in today’s day and age there is so much violence against women in India and all over the world. I would like to spend International Women’s Day by reminding myself and those around me to do whatever we can to remove this blot.
What is your message for International Women’s Day?
I believe that the education of the girl child can be part of a powerful grassroots movement to combat poverty, violence and gender discrimination in our societies across the world. My message to all women is to sponsor the education of an underprivileged girl child for atleast a year– either someone you know or through a charity. Imagine if all the women for whom this is possible for do it, how many lives we will be able to change.
As told to