IndiVine Post: The Franklin Templeton Investments Inspiration

Watch the speakers narrate their riveting stories of innovation on Share your thoughts on the big issue they’re talking about. The ideas which inspired you the most! 

The Diaries I've Kept Since I Was A Teenager!
When I first got the e-mail from, telling me to blog about the "big issue" the speakers at were talking about, I never expected to be so taken by the videos I would find on the site. Despite watching a lot of videos on the site, it was Rohini Nilekani, the founder chairperson of Pratham Books, whose cause touched a chord in my heart. Their mission, "A book in every child's hand", made me realize how lucky I am to have been born into a family which could provide me with a stream of good books ever since I learned to read. Or as Rohini Nilekani said, I had learned to read long before I had even gone to school.

Me, 14, Busy Writing 
I was only six years old when setting down my abridged copy of Louisa May Alcott's Little Women, I decided I wanted to be a writer. The dream never died, even though I went through the same phases as every other child - wanting to be a teacher, a doctor, an actress, a video jockey, and many more things. I kept the fact I wanted to be writer when I grew up all to myself. But I think my family members realized that when they found poems written on the last pages of this wonderful thing called a "rough book" we had to carry to school everyday. The effort I made to make sure all the essays I would have to write were unique, and when I grew up, I learned to use "quotes" in order to make my writing have more of an impact. 

I began sending book proposals to publishers ever since my first year in college, and it wasn't until my final year in post-grads that something finally worked in my favor. General Press published a young adult romance I'd written, titled The Secret Proposal.

And after watching Rohini Nilekani's talk, I cannot help but realize that none of this would've happened if it hadn't been for my sheer love for reading. I was a lucky kid, I know that for sure. I was exposed to reading and stories from a very young age. Ever since I could comprehend what people around me were saying, I'd badger everyone to tell me stories. Right from my mother when she tucked me into bed, to my sister when she fed me lunch, to the house cleaning lady. My love for stories were such, that I was unsatisfied with the books I found at home. I finished reading them all by the time I turned thirteen. And then I would simply make up my own stories in order to keep myself entertained.

So you can imagine how horrified I felt when I saw the statistics Rohini Nilekani flashed across the screen. 300 million children and only 25,000 books?!?! And to think that in the UK every child gets 6 books, and in India only book has to be shared between 20 children. I must be really privileged to have gotten more than 20 books all to myself, when I was growing up. And not just in English but also in Bengali (my mother tongue). The books which certainly had an impact on me were Grimms' Fairy Tales and Thakurma r Jhuli. When I think that there are children who've never even heard of these works, it just breaks my heart.

Me, UG III, busy reading, ignoring people! :P
I love the initiative Pratham Books organized, by tying up with various organizations to make sure all the children have a colorful childhood. Jean Webster's character, Judy Abott, had got one thing right - "Every adult should have a wonderful childhood to look back upon."
I feel so happy knowing that I can be a part of this change. I can bring to all these children, the joy of stories. 

The story card idea is brilliant. Rs 2 is a cost almost everyone can afford, and to watch a child as his lips form the words he's seeing and the delight spreading across his face when he is able to understand the printed words on the page - everything seems so worth it then.

To be filled with stories for kids :)

I love writing and though till date I've written stories mostly for an older audience, after watching this talk - I know exactly how I can help in Pratham Book's venture to give every child of India a chance to build castles in the air, to explore a world of fantasy through the books made available to them. I will create stories for children, maybe even go meet them in person and tell them stories. 

I could possibly ask Pratham Books if they would be interested in a couple kids' fiction I have already written. I would love to read the stories out to the children. I would love to gift them all the books I kept from my childhood, and because I can, I would love to donate for the cause.

I know there were so many other "causes" discussed in the talk, the causes which a lot of my peers would tag as far more important than making sure every Indian child discovers the joy of reading. 

But for me, since it was the world of fiction that made me who I am today, I want every single kid to see for themselves how magical our lives can truly be, if we can just learn to lose ourselves in the printed pages for a few hours...

Kudos to Rohini Nilekani, founder chairperson of Pratham Books. I really hope to meet you someday. You have inspired me, you have motivated me to do something in order to make sure every kid has 20 books and not the other way round!

Source: Google Images
The link to the video which inspired me:
This post is a part of Franklin Templeton Investments
 partnered the TEDxGateway Mumbai in December 2012.


  1. Nice to hear about your of luck for the contest! Technology News

  2. A very well written post,Aniesha. I could totally feel the personal connection here. I too feel very blessed when I actually think about these statistics. Having had an eclectic literary childhood filled with stories by with Blyton, Dahl and Christie, I could not feel luckier. Good luck for the contest and I hope your works get selected for the books for children :)


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