|Author: Kavitha Mandana
Illustrator: Nayantara Surendranath
Review By: Hamsa Surendranath
My book is called A Pair of Twins. The story is about twins but a different kind of twins. It is about a small girl called Sundari and an elephant called Lakshmi. They are both born on the same day. They are called twins because they are also born around the same time.
Sundari wanted to be a mahout but her father did not agree. He said only boys can be mahouts, girls can’t ride on elephants. It made her sad because her father wants her brother to become the mahout. Luckily, her brother didn’t want to be with the elephants because he didn’t like their smell.
Sundari’s father takes care of all the elephants in Mysore Palace and he takes Drona, the bull elephant all around Mysore city when it is Dussehra. Drona is Lakshmi the elephant’s father.
One time Drona fell sick, and Sundari took care of him. So when it is Dussehra, Drona was too weak to go in a procession. Instead the king and the Maharani wanted Lakshmi to go on the procession because she was beautiful and strong.
Sundari’s dad told the king he is also too old to train Lakshmi, but Rajanna told Sundari knows how to train Lakshmi. Sundari’s dad was very angry at Rajanna but the Maharani told them she wanted to meet Sundari. Sundari was so surprised when she found out that she was going to be the mahout. But she was sad again when they told her she must dress like a man. The Maharani saw that and whispered a secret in Sundari’s ear and she felt happy again.
Soon, when it was Dussehra, Sundari wore a beautiful saree belonging to the Maharani. On Dussehra, Lakshmi was the first female elephant going on the procession, and Sundari was the first female mahout.
What I liked in this book was the drawings. It is very, very beautiful. I wish I could draw like the artist. The story is also nice. Something like this happened to my friends. When we played cricket on our street sometimes aunties and uncles tell the girls it is better to play badminton. Once they told my friends that girls shouldn’t climb trees. But we don’t listen to them. We play whatever we want. I felt happy that Sundari became a mahout. I did not like it when her father felt proud that it was because she was his daughter that Sundari is good with elephants. He tried to stop her and now he wants everyone to think it is because of him she is good with elephants!