Real Neighbours
Madhuri Purandare
age group: 
5+ yrs
Number of pages: 
Jyotsna Prakashan
family grandparents neighbours childhood
fiction, picture book


This is a simple yet warm tale of little Ketaki who lives in an ordinary home, surrounded by ordinary people. Whilst, it could be the story of any girl in India, the flavor of the book is definitely set in a typical Maharashtrian family. 

In this slice-of-life story, originally written in Marathi and ably translated by Sai Keskar, we meet her grandmother whose has seen big changes in her lifetime and looks back nostalgically at the by-gone days. We also get to see the world through little Ketaki’s eyes as she explores the ‘new’ surroundings and makes presumptions about the people living there which turn out to be totally mis-guided.

We see the loving bond that she shares with her grandfather and realizes the true meaning of what it takes to be ‘real neighbours’ as she is made aware that the bonds of love can stretch far beyond the four walls of her home to embrace the wider world as well.
‘Still waters run deep,’ it is said, and this easy-going story contains within it a lot of food for thought and introspection.

The illustrations also reflect the mood of the story.

All in all, a good book to place in the hands of children, the only snag being the size of the font, which might challenge the younger readers.

Reviewed by Shamim Padamsee