What happens when a ball of batter accidentally falls into hot oil? A sizzling bonda emerges, leading to a satisfied Prince, a content Kingdom and a ..well...Bondaful story! Shamim Padamsee's 'The Silly Story of Bondapalli', published by Tulika, is a wonderful story not only for children but also for adults, who want to have a good laugh after a stressful day. That's what I did. I don't know if my little enjoyed as much as I did (The recommended age is 5+) but I laughed out loud while reading the book...something I hav n't done in a long long time.
A young Prince fusses over food and an 'accident' leads to the discovery of the Bonda. It becomes the Prince's favorite food. So much so that people in the Kingdom start eating Bondas everyday and this leads to a happy re-arrangement of their lives and homes. The Kindom then becomes, you guessed right-Bondapalli! What happens when a neighboring King hears of this, forms the rest of the story.
The word 'Bonda' caught V's attention. The story captures the very essence of childhood- children protesting against what they don't like and wanting to have only what they are fond of.
As is with every other book, Ashok Rajagopalan's illustrations are catchy and for a child as little as V, they in a way explain the crux of the story. In V's words, 'Amma, atho paar bonda veedu, Bonda Mama, Bonda Kaaka' (Bonda house, Uncle and crow). Simply 'Bondastic'! Older children are likely to understand and enjoy the humor.
After reading the book I could n't help wanting for more. If my instincts are right, we can expect a series under 'Adventures at Bondapalli'!
(Picture courtesy Tulika Books)