India in Children's Books

India Stories
by Mitali Perkins

You want your ancient India,
Your other India,
Your monkey-jewel-barefoot India.

Draped in a tired colonial nostalgia,
Veiled and demure, perched on elephants.

But they are a dancing India,
A changing India,
A buying-selling-reading India.
Sorry. Can't have your bleeding India.


Pooja said…
Mitali Didi, FTW.
beckylevine said…
I love this. Is it yours?
Mitali Perkins said…
Thanks, Pooja. Yes, Becky, it's mine, and thanks!
jamie said…
It struck me when I received the issue as a bit "canned" and quite honestly, the Henna Boys seemed very close to Rickshaw Girl, with a sex change. But nobody asked me what I thought when I took the assignment! Your poem is spot on, of course. I don't subscribe to Cricket so I'm not sure if this is what they are doing regularly, that is, themed issues.
holly cupala said…
I love this. Vibrant and gorgeous, Mitali. I want to visit India again! What an amazing country. PBS did an India series not long ago that was incredible.
Marilyn Kulkarni said…
I am a WASP American married to a Maharashtrian and we lived in India for 8 years. I just read your comments in SLJ and greatly appreciate them. When my sons were young I could only find one book remotely helpful in learning about India before we went to live there. It was a now out of print title called, If you were Born in India. It is great to have books that talk about the modern India and those that talk of the traditional India. It's not just about the trappings of clothes, films and food but the family dynamics, the education system, the transportation system, the social systems and poverty that are part of the many faces of present day India.
Doret said…
jeannineatkins said…
I love this poem. Are you writing others?
It was nice to glimpse you in Nashua, and hear great things about your workshop, but I hope for a bit more time soon. Jeannine Atkins
Mitali Perkins said…
Thanks, everybody. I do write poetry here and there, Jeannine, but feel like such a novice compared to the likes of you. I've never studied poetic forms and so lack the language to discuss it intellectually, but I LOVE POETRY. Reading it AND writing it, and when I write it, I don't really care what the academics think. It heals my soul.
"Gar firdaus bar rue zameenast
hamiasto, hamiasto, hamiast."......-FIRDAUS

Meaning of the quote is "If there is paradise anywhere on earth,
it is here, it is here, it is here.