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Christopher C. Doyle, best-selling author of Mahabharata Secret, Mahabharata Quest: Alexander’s Secret and the upcoming book, Secret of Druids, has an unique approach to story- telling. He believes in weaving together History, Science and incidents fro Mahabharata while shaping his thriller narratives. When he addressed about 100 children of  classes 9-12 at Khaitan Public School today, Christopher encouraged them to imagine alternative histories- and its possibilities.

Given the present political climate, Christopher also spoke of the apprehensions regarding writing alternative histories. Through various video images, researched materials and documents, he introduced the children to the world of fact and science. For instance, he gave a fascinating account of how one of the scientists’ discovery of the nature of erosion of the rocks in Egypt determined the period when Pyramids were created. Instead of 2500 BC, the scientist proved that the origin of pyramids and sphinx must have happened only after 6000 BC for it to have coincided with the heavy rainfall erosion.

In his own books, Christopher deals with important issues like Asoka as a historical figure with a secret to guard and not just a legend like he was believed to be before 1837. He questions the real reason for Alexander the Great to leave India without conquering it. According to Christopher’s research and fiction, Alexander came in search of Samudra Manthan which would lead him to Amrita, the nectar of immortality. He left as he was unable to find it and his desire of becoming a God remained unfulfilled.

What if we could re-write history?

What if we could re-write history?

Christopher spoke about some of the writers and books that inspired him to pursue this particular writing style. He mentioned Graham Hancock’s “The finger prints of the Gods” and Christopher Knight and Robert Lomas’ “Uriel’s Machine” and Akshay Majumdar’s The Hindu History.  He even brought a few of these books to let children have a glimpse of his idea of creativity and writing.

Children who attended the session were shy to discuss about writing or ask questions about the books in public but had a fun time with the author when they got a chance to talk to him individually. They even had an opportunity of buying the books signed by the author. He also spoke about the Quest club whereby avid readers could connect with the author online for discussions on books, ideas around thinking, reading and writing.

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The special kids at the Sarahana NGO, belonging to the age bracket of 6 and 15, were in for a treat as the storyteller for the day, Simi Srivastava took the stage. They set sail on a journey with the kind witch and her animal friends, the cat, the dog, the parrot and the frog. It involved an adventure whereby the kind witch (enacted by Simi in this case) kept dropping her belongings – the witch hat, the ribbon, her magic wand and each time one of her animal friends helped her find it. In return, they just wanted a ride on her on her broom. It was all fun and exciting till they faced a bigger problem- the dragon! The animal friends helped out the kind witch collectively this time. The children listened with rapt attention, wide-eyed – that showed their involvement in the story. Some of the kids also volunteered to take roles of the different animal friends and the kind witch when they were ready to take the make believe ride on the broom- Whooosh-Whoosh-Whoosh!

A magical story session

A magical story session

This was followed by few rhymes and songs like – When you are happy and you know it, clap your hands; I love you-you love me; humne teen cheesein dekhi hain, ek mota haathi fasee ek makdee ke jaal mein, etc. Not only were the children delighted, their parents had a lovely time too. The oversized book really worked well. The illustrations were out there for the children to explore the look and the feel of the characters more closely.  The animated voice over and the gait of different characters were perfectly portrayed by Simi. Happily, we all found an access to Julia Donaldson’s Room on Broom.