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Driving down the empty roads of Delhi on a wintry morning to pick up author Ranjit Lal brought back memories of the hills. We headed to Gyan Bharati School, Saket admiring the unnatural peace on the roads, the lull before Delhi woke up to its storm of traffic. Four excited children greeted us at the reception and were so keen to speak to Mr Lal that they could not wait for the session to begin. We were escorted to the Library where 50 students eagerly awaited Ranjit. He told the children how he chose the characters in his novels from the animal world. He described the importance of being at one with nature and observant, to imbibe from their surroundings. The children were spell-bound and in awe of him and for 5 minutes no one seemed to know what to ask. Then the shyness was overcome by their enthusiasm and the author was bombarded with a volley of questions like, “Do you plan a plot first or the character in your novels?”, “Sir if we use difficult words in our writing, children will get bored and not read what we have written. How do we solve this?” Another child wanted to write a story on the incident of the boy jumping into lion’s cage in the Delhi zoo and his subsequent death. The questions were endless, “ Who is your favourite author, your favourite character?“ Ranjit  answered how he loved altu faltu the monkey and also loved the villain Caw Caw kawua. His anecdotes kept the children enthralled until we had to end the session. A girl made a pencil sketch of Mr Lal and presented it to him and he autographed a photocopy of the sketch for the school magazine. The last 10 minutes or so were spent with the children getting their books signed. We moved on to  leaving behind 50 happy hearts with smiles on their faces. Determined and enthusiastic the young guns seemed eager to get on with their writing skills and come up with a story or two.
 
 
 Suchita Meena
 
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