Pappuram and Kojaram are two story tellers in the book “It’s All The Same !”, narrating a story about why Lord Ganesha is worshipped before the commencement of any auspicious event.
The first story recounts the event of marriage of Rama with Sita where the wedding party is not impressed by the idea of having an elephant faced guest in their procession. However, the wedding procession is unable to move forward until Ganesha is given the place of pride in the wedding ceremony as well as all the ceremonies in the world for times to come. The second myth is about Ganesha and his elder brother Karthikeya where they had to go around the whole universe seven times. Ganesha wins this race by swiftly going around his parents and as a reward he is bestowed with the blessing that people will always offer prayers to Ganesha before any other God.
The two story tellers are Kaavidya Bhaats, from Rajasthan. They carry a vibrantly coloured story box in the shape of a shrine called Kaavad. It has two double doors which open up to either sides like two arms inviting the audience to the world of myths and folktales. The stories are presented through colourful art work in the story box. It is also a marvellous work of carpentry. The author, Nina Sabnani holds a doctoral thesis on Kaavads and the illustrator, Satyanarayan Suthar is a Kaavad artist. It is a commendable collaborative work by this team to introduce this art to children. “It’s All The Same!” is rightly an appealing book about this uncommon art form.
Many years ago I had bought this little shrine for my children as part of an exercise to introduce diverse forms of Indian art to them. That introduction now seems complete after the children read this book. In the words of my seven year old daughter who connected instantly to this book, “Just because the head of Ganesha is of an elephant it does not mean you do not invite someone to your wedding. It is not nice to do this to anyone if they have a different face. Lord Ganesha said that my mother and father are my universe. I do not have to go around the whole universe. So, always listen to your mother and father and be nice to them.” Be nice to one and all! It’s a splendid take away for my child and for everyone else. Reflecting the nature of the book it is open to varied and rich interpretations by children and adults but – “It’s All The Same!”