Bengaluru, October 16, 2018: It is very appropriate that a book on elephants, particularly reflecting the life story of an endearing elephant with royal connections from Karnataka, was being released in Mysuru, coinciding with the auspicious Dasara festivities.
The love, affection, sacrifice, hardship and passion for elephants is reflected in the book “Balarama’s Story- An Elephant’s Journey” with the protagonist being none other than the much-loved Balarama!It is jointly authored by Award winning authors D.K. Bhaskar and Alladi Jayasri, both from Bangalore and currently based in the US.
The book had a soft launch at the recent Dasara festivities inauguration by Karnataka Chief Minister Shree H.D. Kumaraswamy and Chief Guest Mrs Sudha Murthy-Chairperson, InfosysFoundation in the presence of august personalities. D. K. Bhaskar said: “Elephants have long been a part of world culture, religion and the natural environment. Elephants have a “mammoth” presence in India’s mythology and folklore. Balarama’s Story is the biography of an elephant that was uprooted from its natural home in the forest to later attain iconic status as a “royal elephant” in Dasara festival of the once Royal Mysore.”Bhaskar is an education innovator, visual storyteller and cultural explorer apart from being a nature photographer. He is the co-producer of an award-winning documentary “Elephants in the Coffee” and has also authored “The Fragile Forest: InsideBrazilian Amazonia.” His fascination with the world of elephants for over two decades has resulted in this enchanting and colourfully illustrated book.
Alladi Jayasri, on the other hand, has been a journalist and writer having worked with the Bangalore-based English newspapers before making US her home. She has been a Media Fellow of the National Foundation for India writing a series on “Success stories in women empowerment in Karnataka’’.Jayasri says on the book: “When Bhaskarcoaxed me to write on Balarama, memories of Thama, the elephant created by Kamala Laxman, The world of Jungle Book and the stories from the puranas, the delightful tale of Ganesha and the moon, the story of Gajendra Moksha from The Bhagavatham tumbled on to the computer screen as words. And there he was, Baby Balarama,naughty, adorable and full of dreams about a beautiful life in the forest. It was agonizing to have to write about his capture, the shattering of his dreams, and his journey to Mysore where he became the lead elephant, carrying the Ambari in the Vijayadashami procession.”
Both concurred: “The book in short reflects the world of elephants, learning how they live, and love and even mourn the death of a loved one. A celebration of the elephant’s place in our culture, mythology, religion and at the same time the sombre realization that the future of the elephant is threatened by many of our own actions.”
The other person who made thishappen is Yathi Siddakatte is an internationally recognised Illustrator and Visual Story Teller, is based in Bangalore and Master’s in Fine Art from Karnataka Chitrakala Parishad. His work today is an expression of his belief in Education through art and lends support to campaigns, literature summits and social causes.