Once upon a time...
If you worry about the television killing your child’s imagination, six-year-old Shaun Sharma could well be the poster child for the so-called idiot box. It is while watching cartoons on television that the soon-to-be-published writer gets most of his inspiration.
Shaun Sharma likes giving outlandish names to the characters in his books
The Mumbai boy, who now lives in the United Kingdom with his parents, loves making up stories and writes as and when he gets into the mood. “I get ideas for new tales whenever I watch television and come across new characters in cartoons and movies. Whenever they come to my mind, I quickly put them down,” says Sharma, who hopes to be a filmmaker when he grows up.
The first of the stories in his upcoming book, titled Happy Stories, is a twist on the fairytale Jack and the Beanstalk.
Instead of coming face-to-face with a giant, little Jack finds himself in a land full of dinosaurs. Tales of an ice cream robot and a kind little mermaid follow. Sharma’s favourite, though, is about Bonzy, the baby lion. “He is very friendly, cute and likes to help everybody,” says the child, who enjoys giving outlandish names to his characters. “While I was making up the story, the name Bonzy just popped into my head,” he explains.
“While the four stories are, at heart, simple fantasy tales, a closer look will reveal a common thread of humanity between them where a lion cub reaches out to an alien, a mermaid offers solace to a boy and an ice cream robot holds hands with a biscuit. Ironically, there is no human face behind the aspect of humanity. It reveals a remarkable insight about children: their trust, belief and lack of conditioning where they see good in other creatures and where even non-living things are endowed with goodness. The stories won my heart for this reason,” notes Aparna Raman, founder, Timbuktoo Publishing. When Sharma’s mother, Rupa, sent Raman his stories, it wasn’t hard for her pick out these four. “They struck me as particularly sensitive,” she adds.
Happy Stories is a picture book, illustrated by Ayesha Adil and designed by Aseem Gautam, which will hit the stands soon. Sharma hasn’t allowed any of his friends to read his stories yet, but can’t wait to share the book with them as soon as it’s published. “The stories have been my secret all this time. But once the stories will be in books, I would like to share with them,” says the boy, who enjoys reading almost as much as he loves making up his own tales.
“My next story is going to be about The Boy with the Rainbow Head,” he signs off.