Karthika Naïr on The Honey Hunter, a visual journey on eco-conservation
Blazing an eco-trail for children’s writing, The Honey Hunter hopes to instill awareness in kids on the perils of ecological imbalance. Adapted from a section of DESH, a dance-drama by Akram Khan, and illustrated by Joëlle Jolivet, author Karthika Naïr describes the story as part fable-part adventure. Set in the Sundarbans, the plot centers around Shonu, a young boy whose parents are honey gatherers. Plagued by hunger, his desperation for food takes him to a forest where he encounters a demon-tiger. Naïr claims The Honey Hunter is a cautionary tale that is relevant to children in a world where ecological balance is threatened. “To be honest, I didn’t think of a young audience at first, and nor was I asked by the publishers to ‘make it more child-friendly.’ I had plotted this to be the bedtime tale for Akram’s imaginary niece,” she shares.
Addressing the issue of cognitive dissonance (mental stress and discomfort) in society today, Naïr explains a passage from the book. “A little girl doesn’t realise that bees cannot make honey in winter, that there is a time for things to rest, just as there is a time for things to grow. She just assumes honey is something to be bought off a supermarket shelf at any time of the year,” she explains. As for the message that she intends children to receive when they pick up a copy, she shares, “The Honey Hunter contains a lot of love and hope for the world, wounded and messy as it is. And the thought that each one of us gives something back to the planet.”
The book is launching at theAlliance Francaise, tomorrow, at 7 pm. Rs 395. Details: 28251165
— Divya Karthikayen