By Ms. Jaya Mehta

The Children’s Pavilion hosted a special event to inaugurate the first day of the World Book Fair as internationally acclaimed Odissi dancer, Jaya Mehta, conducted a book reading for young children, from her book ‘Nritya Katha – Indian Dance stories for Children.’ Published by The National Book Trust of India, the book brings alive the rich culture of different states of India, through the journey of a child discovering various Indian dance forms.

In this special event, Jaya Mehta narrated the story ‘Odissi Odyssey’ from her book, unraveling the journey of Tarini, a young girl who falls in love with a talking sculpture and discovers her love for Odissi. After the book reading, the dancing sculptures of Odisha came alive with an exquisite Odissi dance performance, by young Odissi dancers from Odissi Kala Ashram dance school. Saanvi Mehra, Ananya Mehta, Anoushka Prasad, and Tishya Gupta presented ‘Chaya Jhatak,’ a dance representing the magic of Konark temple’s sculptures created by the legendary Odissi Guru Surendra Nath Jena.

The event created great interest in parents, children, educators, and culture lovers, as book lovers flocked to this multi-disciplinary event based on a unique book.

Design professional Mukta Wadhwa found the book to be a great amalgamation of world-class illustration, design, and a storybook that is a great way to discover India. She found the connections between the children’s Odissi dance performance, Konark temple sculptures, and stories from the book fascinating.

Play therapist, Manju Iyer, and her daughter Lavanya were thrilled to find a storybook about Indian dance forms that stirred children’s imaginations deeply. According to senior arts educator Deepali Bose, Children’s reaction to this book is fantastic and they immediately start reading! It is a must for all culturally inclined parents.