Colouring is an activity that children and adults enjoy immensely. Colouring with Bajo is indeed one of its kind! There are many colouring books for children, but none that focuses solely on Indian musical instruments. Not only can children colour a delightful mix of musical instruments, but they can actually learn a little bit more about the instruments thanks to the snappy and comprehensive information provided.
Bookedforlife in conversation with Madhumita Bhaskar, Founder, ShrotaHouse who has illustrated and conceptualised Coloring With Bajo.
You have merged your love for Indian classical music with a growing need to introduce elements of our cultural heritage to children. What led to the idea of this book?
I had the good fortune of having a music-loving family that passed on their love for Indian classical music to me! In my childhood, I learnt musical concepts in a playful way – it greatly helped boost my curiosity and creativity – and those lessons are for life and absolutely invaluable! Over time I realize more that it has positively groomed my personality and induced great values in me! However, not every child might have the luxury of a conducive environment that sparks interest in them around musical exploration. And I want to change this from being called a ‘luxury’ to it becoming an ‘essential’! I wish no child misses out on early music exposure and I want to help make this process as interesting as possible for them! I have begun working on avenues for children and adults to explore our wonderful Indian classical music! It was the COVID lockdown that actually made me meditate on these thoughts and this book is my first step towards making this happen!
What age group is the book apt for?
I would not add any age limit! However, it is best suited for children aged 3-9yrs. It is also for adults who are into Zentangle art or similar forms.
This activity-based book introduces the fun interactive element, while at the same time, giving children just the right amount of information. How could parents use this book to gain optimum benefit for their children. What are your tips as the writer and illustrator?
Needless to say, children these days learn a lot, and really fast! We parents are put to test with respect to choosing the best of lessons and hobbies, to fuel their growth! I personally feel bringing fresh elements in their regular activities makes things interesting, instead of loading them with back-to-back classes. For example, my book is based on Indian classical instruments – it builds in children some level of familiarity with few musical instruments while being a colouring activity book – again something different! This book can be used in children’s play dates, family game nights, any kind of group activities, birthday parties, and is even a terrific return gift idea! In fact, I found that this book is liked by young music students as well!
Your start-up, Shrotahouse, aims to create awareness of Indian classical music. what are the unique musical experiences and learning opportunities do you provide?
We believe beautiful music touches everyone! At ShrotaHouse we tune people to the beauty of our very own Indian classical music! We have an online ‘musical storytelling’ series going on just for pre-schoolers, which is super interesting! Once the pandemic situation improves, we shall have unique in-person Indian music exposure sessions especially designed for people with no musical background, and even toddlers! And there is a lot more in store! The best part is that we welcome any child or adult to join our experience hub and enjoy our offerings, irrespective of their musical abilities. Follow us on Facebook @shrotahouse and visit our website www.shrotahouse.com to subscribe for more!
What are your tips for parents who want to expose young children to Indian classical music? How should they start?
I would say a good starting point is to include classical music in your child’s regular routine, consistently. Have short, simple and soothing instrumental pieces (e.g., Veena, Tabla) played to them in the background while they engage in their activities. Being consistent is key! Over time their focus improves and senses sharpen. Exposure to different musical textures and rhythm patterns are fodder to brain development. At the same time, they fall in love with the artform! ShrotaHouse offers lot of support in this area.
Any suggestions for adults who wish to experience the benefits of Indian classical music?
I have heard from many that the complexity of Indian classical music stops them from ‘understanding’ or enjoying it! I believe we are more than song-hoppers (which we are unfortunately being trained to become, thanks to our current lifestyles). Like they say ‘we are what we practice’– If you listen to classical music regularly, your understanding and taste develops over time – just by the virtue of the desire to learn more! Most musicians tend to work towards this themselves! I would encourage everyone to attend classical music concerts by different artists regularly, with family and friends, especially children! In fact, we at ShrotaHouse make this possible for you and we help you discover a lot more through this artform! Please never let any prejudice, social or psychological barriers stop you from getting started today!
Coloring with Bajo is an apt activity based introduction to Indian classical music….designed for children but perfectly apt for adults as well! Are you ready to tune in?