Mum, what is Navratri? Rakhi Gehlote answers it all in her book

By Arvind Singh 

London: Mum, what is Navratri? A question many of you may have encountered living in the US, the UK and other countries outside India with young budding children. London-based Jaipur girl Rakhi Singh Gehlote has solved all the questions and other queries related to the festival of Navratri in her illustrated book – Mama, what is Navratri?
“Being a mother I know how difficult it is to explain to children about our culture and festivals living abroad. But it is also our responsibility that children remain connected to our roots. This is the reason that I have come out with the book which has all the details and illustrations. I have tried to include all the questions I had faced and much more to make the book interesting for Indian children living abroad,” Rakhi said. 

The illustrated book highlights details about Navratri festival

The book uses an illustrated account of Sona, the daughter who curiously asks questions about the festival of Navratri and Sheela, the mother who answers them all. The book explains the nine incarnations of Maa Durga, the meaning of their names, stories behind the nine incarnations, the festival of Navratri, special festive dishes, decoration and obviously the dandia.   

Hailing from Jaipur, Rakhi has been living in London for around two decades. She had done her Masters in Fine Arts from Baroda and also completed a diploma in sculpture in Jaipur before she moved to London. Her husband Hem Singh works as an IT professional in the investment banking sector. Rakhi started out in London teaching Hindi and taking art classes but now she runs a digital media company. 

The illustrated book highlights details about Navratri festival

Rakhi is also actively involved as a volunteer with an Indian organization in London helping out the Indian community. She runs a platform to promote Hindi language and literature, for which she was awarded ‘Jodhpur Ratan’ award earlier this year. 

“When we are outside India, we realize the importance of festivals and it is our duty as a parent to guide our children towards our culture and roots. Children are very curious and receptive, so it is important to answer their questions, hence the book. The effort is aimed at ensuring that our festival does not become just an event of festivity but our younger generation understand the meaning of it also,” Rakhi said.   

The vibrant design of the book and the illustrations used are meant to keep children engrossed. It also includes rangoli designs to get kids inspired to do it themselves. 

Two children of Rakhi, 19-year-old university student Shivee and 12-year-old Sohum also actively helped her out in finalizing the book. “It is quite a different kind of book and importantly it answers all the questions which come to my mind regarding the festival of Navratri,” Shivee said.       

The illustrated book highlights details about Navratri festival

Image courtesy of (Images courtesy: Rakhi Singh Gehlote)

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