Magnolias by Malati Shah and Amrita Kanther

March 3, 2012 § 2 Comments

The beauty of the book lies in its simplicity and the colourful Pahari paintings. Pahari is used to describe the painting style from the Himachal region during the 17th-19th century. The style is characterized by breathtaking and colourful backgrounds, bringing out the colours and vistas of the region. The book opens with a beautiful painting of the farmer walking up a path with the sunrise in the background. Every illustration by Amrita Kanther is worth more than thousand words!

Gulab the gardener picks up a bunch of Magnolias as requested by his wife. On the way back home, he presents it to various people and animals. He even leaves a flower on the grave of Coonah the dog. For his wife though, Gulab has a surprise, a pleasant surprise.

The story by Malati Shah is simple, yet detailed. Aided by the paintings, the simple sentences show us the colourful valley of Shimla. The diversity of the valley is brought out as Gulab presents flowers to various people who have come to live there and be associated with him.

It is quite intriguing how even as an adult, you learn about a place from such a book. Photographs put an address to an unknown place but it is illustrations such as these that bring alive the everyday aspects of life and make them seem fantastic;  The elements are bound together subtly, with an ending that will put a big smile on your face. I love the book. It is worth spending time looking just at the art!


P.S:- Time I start planning a trip to that part of the country.


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