This is the final post in my three part series on the topic. The first post can be found here and the second post is here. In this concluding part, I am going to focus on an approach I have been been trying over the last couple of weeks and what worked and what didn’t. I will also discuss about the author I choose to highlight for the effort and why.
My three year old has been to temples in India and has seen his parents pray at home. He has heard us say prayers out load. He used to say them himself a year ago but chooses not to anymore. Chalk one up for the three year old’s ego. Anytime we scientifically introduce something that does not involve trains and planes, it is a challenge. With great trepidation, I brought in a book I had picked up on Amazon over 3 years ago to read it for the little guy- someday. This book was a wonderful bookby an American Indian artist, Sanjay Patel. I can’t speak enough about this awesome book. It contains some of the coolest visualizations of Indian Gods ever to grace print. The text describing each God elevates the pictures to a whole new level. It needs to be read and seen to be believed. As adults, my wife and I adore this book.
Sanjay’s book was my weapon of choice to drill Indian mythology and Gods to my son. Armed with the book as a new bedtime story, I started slowly and haltingly, unsure if the content is too dense. To my utter surprise, the little guy fell hook, line and sinker for the Ganesha in diapers in one of the first pages and never stopped looking. Two weeks into the experiment, he can now identify most of the basic Indian Gods, their quirks, the ancillary demigods like Agni, Vayu and Varuna and what not. He adores Sita and thinks she is very pretty (the Sita illustration does take one’s breath away) and finds Karthikeya who is depicted as an infant as totally cute. I can’t believe it was so easy-or maybe it was the book.
Thanks Sanjay for making it so accessible for my three year old. If you like the sample Sanjay Patel art, feel free to check out his other products here. The product website is an excellent introduction to the artist’s work. I own another of his works on Ramayana. The little guy is a tad young for it but I am hoping to introduce it to him once he turns 4.
Now let me make sure I get one thing clear. I am in no form or manner devaluing Amar Chitra Katha’s or claiming that Sanjay’s work is superior to revered Anant Pai. What I am saying is that at the age I am trying to introduce Indian Gods to my son, Sanjay Patel’s work is more colorful, more age-appropriate and less violent. Part of this is the pseudo clean imagery we try to offer our kids (a topic in itself) compared to the readily available violence in Indian songs, TV shows and ads shown on TV in India. Part of this is the protective feeling parents have in wanting to keep the kid’s innocence in place as long as it can survive today’s harsh world. My son will experience Amar Chitra Katha and hopefully derive as much fun as I did and much more. There will be a time for that. It is just not now.
Hope this series was as much fun reading as it was for me putting it together. I am going through much of what I am writing currently and it helps in sharing my thoughts to other parents and getting valuable inputs from readers.