Jul 102012

Published By: Tulika Books

Story: Sandhya Rao

Illustrations: Ranjan De


‘As Ekki pulled off the towel from her head, thick, long black tresses fell like silk over her shoulders and down her back.’


  In a Sentence: A Marathi folktale about two sisters – the helpful humble Ekki with one strand of hair, and the vain self-centred bully Dokki with two strands of hair.

What is it About: Dokki with two strands of her on her head is their mother’s darling, which has made her a bit of a vain pompous brat. Ekki is fed up with Dokki’s bullying, and runs away from home. Things happen to her in the jungle, and she returns home with a tuft of some fabulously luscious long hair! Dokki makes a quick dash for a redo of tricks. What do you think happens to her?

Form and language: What a pleasant departure from the many folktales weighed down by an overdose of words. Sandhya Rao’s narrative has not a wasted word, not an extra letter, not a pause in vain. The story maintains a brisk pace. Brevity, coupled with punch and dry humour, makes it a delight to read again and again and again. ‘Their mother thought there was no one quite so lovely as Dokki. Their father was very busy. He had no time to think.’  

What makes it snuggly: Ranjan De’s quirky and breezy geometrical illustrations! You’ll fall in love with the massive triangular faces of the characters with even bigger grins, the dancing-with-joy (again triangular) mother, the sprightly little strands of (3 nos!) hair, the twinkling triangular eyes, and everything about the refreshingly happy and clean childlike illustrations. Just the kind of illustrations that your child has decked up your house with – the vibrant frames seems as if a child has used sketch pen colours with gay abandon. Simple, yet effective.

What Stands Out: The one pathetic little lonesome hair on Ekki’s head and twice that number on Dokki’s. Don’t miss the rubber bands, matching with their dresses!

Will be best enjoyed by: 4+; but really, by anyone and everyone. It’s hard not to break into wide grins, a la the two sisters, from the moment you first see the front cover.

From snuggly to snugglier: Time for some dictionary activity: If Ekkesvali is a girl with one hair, and Dhonkesvali is the girl with two hairs, what will Ekki be called once ‘thick, long black tresses (fall) like silk over her shoulders and down her back’?!

Love ratings?

Ha Ha! Quotient: 3

Touches The Heart: 3

Cuts Through The Clutter: 4

Visual Appeal: 3

Encore Quotient: 4

Thank God it’s not moral science:  4

Show, don’t tell: 2

Hey, this is a really important book!: 3


Want to know more?

True to the spirit of the rest of the no-fuss narrative, the story ends on an unsentimental note. So we have a rather abrupt change-of-heart of Dokki (‘but she soon wiped her tears and Ekki and Dokki lived happily ever after with their mother and father), which spares us the usual moralizing (lesson learnt) we get at the end of most of folk tales.

The book also has interesting nuggets of information loaded in (what else) triangular birdies!


 July 10, 2012  Posted by at 11:18 pm Uncategorized

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