Sunday, 7 May 2023

'Don't climb on the Bullock Cart' is looking for your love and support

With only 10 days left for our project to reach its target, I reckon it's the perfect time to write about how my second  book (yet to be born) came to be and what it means to me.

The book is called 'Don't climb on the Bullock Cart' and it's being published by Parakeet Books.

When asked about  reasons for writing a book, two questions need answering: Why you and why now?

Soon after I graduated high school, I left my hometown, Dehradun, to pursue a university degree in New Delhi. I didn't know it then but I would never make my way back to the place of my birth, except as a visitor. 

My grandparents (Papaji and Beji) were a big and happy part of my childhood. They raised the dreamer in me for in their eyes, I could do no wrong. They never said 'no' or 'don't do it' when we (my siblings and I) carried out our adventures in Papaji's gorgeous garden; climbing and jumping off trees and the big water tank. 

They were, however, always ready with home-made remedies and softly spoken 'next it like this..' advice to heal our cuts and bruises.

I've moved cities, countries and continents in the last thirty years but I've always carried my birthplace, my home, Beji and Papaji's memories with me, within me wherever I've travelled to or settled down in the world.

Naturally, I wanted my children, raised outside of India, to experience my grandparents' love. But time and distance made it impossible. 

When I lost Papaji and Beji, my children were very young.

Every time I visited my home town, I'd notice it changing. Concrete, multi-storeys started replacing dirt patches and zig-zag lanes where we used to play hide and seek, pithu and kanche. However, it was the fading of people's memories of how our neighbourhood used to be that bothered me. 

That's when I started writing and blogging about my childhood, about Beji and her cooking, about Papaji and his love of the land and his grandchildren, about our mulberry tree, about the recipes they conjured up as home-made medicines.

Then one day in the Autumn of 2020, Tanmay read one of my blog posts. He enjoyed it so much that he offered to do a story board based on it.

In the middle of the second Covid wave, while stuck indoors, Tanmay (from Bangalore) and I (based in Doha) would meet over zoom once a week to work on the story. One scene, one line, little details like how Beji wore her dupatta, how short and messy my hair was when I was five--all of it was moulded into lino-cut illustrations by Tanmay. 

Two years later, our collaboration had turned into a full-fledged illustrated book ready to be published. 

Then last year, I saw an Insta post by a friend and poet whose work I admire--Devjani Bodepudi. Her post mentioned that her next book (for children) would be published by Parakeet Books. So, I messaged Devjani and told her about our 'almost ready' book. 

We knew we'd found the perfect home for 'Don't climb on the Bullock Cart' when we received an emphatic yes from Judy at Parakeet Books. She loved the book, she said.

The dots connected, stars aligned and here we are -- sharing this link to Kickstarter. It'll take you to our project (picked as a #projectwelove by them) where you can pre-order a copy, or help out with a contribution. If, however, you're unable to buy or contribute right away, then please share the link with anyone you know who may be interested. Every little helps.

Thank you for supporting my writing journey with your visits and kind comments. It all started here :)

Have a lovely Sunday and wishing you all a fabulous start to the new week.


  1. I'm sure you will get a lot of readers for this new book too. Your writing has a unique charm, something that touches the depths of the reader's being.

    1. Thank you Tomichan. Your kindness and appreciation is precious to me.

  2. Hari OM
    Another post that has slipped by me somehow! Wishing you all the best with this, Arti! YAM xx

  3. Hi again! I had no idea that this is already up. Checking it out.


I would love to hear from you. Please leave your thoughts and comments here.