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Interview with Adithi and Chatura Rao

Post by: Sonia Safri

The launch of Growing Up In Pandupur in Mumbai gave us a chance to interact with two very versatile and creative authors - Adithi and Chatura Rao.


Growing Up In Pandupur is a marvelous collection of 13 short stories for children. And parents alike.


The writing is mature and stable, but at no place does it feel commanding or overbearing. So kids will have no difficulty breezing through the stories.


Talking to the author-sisters would really make you feel as if you are talking to a friend...a mature, responsible and a really caring friend, who will always guide you through difficult times.

Yes, the book in a way brings to light certain topics/issues that kids face but are unable to communicate with their folks. The book comes as a friend and a guide to not just children, but parents too.

Well, the sisters are good at hearing you out as well. No wonder kids and parents wouldn't leave a chance to strike a conversation with them, at the launch. Their observation and insight to finer things, usually overlooked by most, is admirable.

BookChums managed to get talking to them. And here's a bit of the interview.


How did you chance upon the title of the book?
There is actually a small town by the name of Pandavpur between Bangalore and Mysore. We passed through it many a times and it is quite scenic. While we were penning out the stories, we modified the name to Pandupur.


How did you think of writing a short story collection for kids?
Between us sisters we have three kids. And we discuss every issue our children are facing or undergoing. There are a lot more challenges you face as a parent. There are times when kids cannot really express what they feel, and this (writing stories of different themes that revolve around kids) was a way of connecting with them.
We already had a few stories around the theme of growing up, and we added a few more to complete the book.



Broadly, what would you say are the diverse topics the stories touch upon?
From sibling love-rivalry, to the loss of a family member, to child sexual abuse, to growing up –most of the stories cater to topics any child can relate to. For that matter, any parent can relate to.

Amongst the stories in this book, which ones are your favorites?
Grandfathers and Trees
Sister’s Song
The River Came Home
The House Painted Blue



Could you name a few of your favorite books?
Chatura: I like fantasy-science fiction work by Ursula K. le Guin, novels by Toni Morrison and John Steinbeck.
 In children's fiction, The Bridge To Terabithia, the Earthsea novels by Ursula K. le Guin, J.R.R Tolkien's 'Hobbit' and 'Lord of the Rings', Ruskin Bond and R K Narayan, and Winnie the Pooh, and Huckleberry Finn.
Adithi: I like the work of Harper Lee (To Kill A Mocking Bird). Her ability to get into the psyche of a child is commendable. I also like R.K. Narayan’s  Malgudi Days and The Christmas Miracle by Jonathan Toomey.

What were your growing up days like?
Charuta: We had a typical middle-class childhood. Grew up in south India, moving between Chennai and Bangalore. Played a lot with large groups of kids. Cycled, went for music classes, stole mangoes, befriended stray dogs and adopted their puppies, ran a book library from a friend's garage, spied on crabby old neighbours, got together and put up plays and dances at Christmas in our grandfather's garden...
Adithi: Pretty much as Chatu described it! Bangalore was my Pandupur, complete with the magician grandpa and a grandmother who was never too tired to read, cook, feed, sing, play, talk or listen when it came to me...

Would you share an incident (from childhood) that has stayed with you till date?

Chatura: I used to be petrified of having my nails snipped by my grandfather. He was an ex-armyman and believed in crew cuts! So I'd hide around the house, sneak around quietly, until inevitable he'd shout for me, and then i'd go to him like a lamb to slaughter! I remember the undersides of beds and tables a lot because i was often playing behind/ under them with my dolls, and also hiding from people. One time my sister got an injection and while she yelled, i hid behind the bed and cried too :-) 
Adithi: "About Grandfathers and Trees" pretty much tells of my most poignant childhood memory.

What next do we see from you – individually and / or together?
Chatura: I'm working on a collection of stories for adults in the style of magic realism. Nothing being co-written with Adithi right now.
Adithi: Together we haven't planned anything yet, although we'd love to do a "Pandupur Too"! Individually I'm sure Chatu will come out with a book. As for me, it has to be a film or I'll burst!


If there was one advice you could give parents today, what would it be?
Chatura: Listen to the kids.
Adithi: That if it’s happening with your kid it is probably happening with lots of others as well, so it can't be that bad. Let it pass with a sense of humour, things do have a way of working themselves out. This is advice for myself as well as for parents out there... I too forget, more often than not.



Psst: For people who still haven't picked up a copy of Growing Up In Pandupur, "fie fie!"


Add Your Comment:

It looks like all the hard work of Adithi is being stolen by Chatura. There does not seem to be any fragment of this written by Chatura. Just being married to some 2nd rate director does not give Chatura the right to steal all the limelight. And what is Kalki doing at the release - is she even on talking terms to Chatura after what Chatura did to her. I mean having an affair with Anurag is one thing, loads of wannabes do the casting couch to get ahead - but what Chatura did was immoral, she had an affair with her own brother-in-law. How did poor abhinav react when he found our about this wife. Adithi, for all her flaws, is an angel compared to Chatura.
Mon,Aug 18th 2014 2:56 AM
Once again I am outraged! I just googled Adithi Rao to see if the mistake made in 1998 where they left Adithi out of the Satya credits has since been corrected. I was amazed to find out that the real assistant director of Satya was Adithi Rao Hydari! This is a completely different person than Adithi Rao the author who is running around claiming to be the assitant director of Satya and was not paid for her services by Ram Gopal Varma. I had so much admiration for Adithi and faith in her but now I see her for the pretentious fraud she is! What were you really doing on the set of Satya Adithi Mahesh Rao? You should have known better the truth always comes out! You are a very poor role model for children and should NOT be writing childrens books leave alone advicing them!
Fri,Mar 1st 2013 1:57 PM
I was outraged when I returned from Africa on a mission to see a youtube video so called promoting Adithi and Chatura Raos book Growing up in Padupur. These authors who are well known for stories retold did not get the publicity they deserved! Kalki swoooped in with her perfect hair and very red rose and stole the lime light! I was outraged to see Chatura sucking up to Kalki and ignoring her sister Adithis hard work. Poor Adithi this seems to be a trend where she never gets credit where its due. The same thing happened to her in Satya where she was the assistant director but her name was left off the credits. The lesson to be learned here is never trust your sister and never have someone so famous and beautiful promoting your event i.e Kalki
Fri,Mar 1st 2013 1:15 PM
Dear Authors,
Now that the two of you are older and have families of your own do you spend time with your grandmother everyday who was never too tired to read, cook, feed, sing, play, talk or listen to you. Or do you have servants taking care of her leaving her unstimulated?
Fri,Mar 1st 2013 12:55 PM