The Bird with Golden Wings
Written by Sudha Murty and Illustrated by Ajanta Guhathakurta
I had never read anything by Sudha Murty so when I saw this book in an airport book shop, I picked it up. It is a collection of 21 short stories for children. Most of them, I remember from my childhood (like the first one ‘The Golden Fish and the Demon’, which is so reminiscent of ‘The Tale of Fisherman and the Fish’). There are some like the ‘The Cunning Lion’, which I’d read for the first time. This tells the tale of a lion who can transform himself into human. He puts on the charade of wanting to marry a girl so he can rule her village.
The familiar ones are adapted from folklore around the world. These are, of course, rewritten in the Indian context with Indian names for the characters.
The illustrations accompanying the stories are quite vibrant and very apt. The patterns and the textures created are traditional and expressive. To achieve the quality of illustration that stands out in the crowd is quite commendable. As a child, I had this version of ‘The Panchatantra’ and I remember it because of the gorgeous gorgeous Pulak Biswas illustrations. Years later when I chanced upon the book in an independent book store, I literally squealed for joy!
I am glad I bought this book, more for the illustrations than the text.