A patchwork quilt triggers a flashback for a young girl, prompting her to recall bits and pieces of her grandmother’s life. This is the story of Bookworm’s new title My Godri Anthology, written by Merle Almeida and illustrated by Nina Sabnani.
About My Godri Anthology
For this book about memory, the author drew upon her grandmother’s life, only to find the tales neither unique nor dated. They tell of love and loneliness, of sickness and dying – stories that are all of ours, wherever and whenever we are.
Between the lines of this brief book, we find allusions to many themes of 20thC rural Goa: ships, sailing, wars, feasts and foods.
The motif of the godri is overarching and it dovetails with another of Bookworm’s passions – promoting and reviving needlecraft in communities as a narrative form. “The idea of a patchwork is symbolic of collation, collection and cohesion – of fabric, of experiences, of the responsibilities women have assumed from the beginning of time,” says Sujata Noronha of Bookworm. In fact, the idea for this story was born of a discussion between Sujata and Merle about a quilting project by Bookworm.
Nina has used a novel mix of needlework, fabric, photography and illustration to bring the story alive. She is an impassioned believer in needlecraft as a conduit for community memory, a conviction that informs much of her work.
Bookworm seeks to gather stories rooted in the community and spread them deep and wide. Local memories and mythologies beckon us powerfully and we are keen to capture these and open them up to our readers. For Bookworm, My Godri Anthologies is a step in that direction.
This story presented us with an opportunity to widen our audience and engage entire families in reading and storytelling. The book is one we hope parents and grandparents will share with young children, while older children discover it for themselves. We hope it will inspire families to chronicle their own stories.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Merle Almeida believes home is where your stories begin. She lives in Mumbai and was born in Dar-es-Salaam, but several growing-up years in Goa made the place home. She moved out of content management at a broking firm in Mumbai a year ago to be a hunter-gatherer of stories. When not hunting, gathering or writing, she works as a writing coach and editorial consultant. She has been a journalist and research editor.
ABOUT THE ILLUSTRATOR
Nina Sabnani pushes the boundaries of storytelling through design and has a special interest in exploring the way women use needlecraft to create stitched histories. The illustrator, animator and filmmaker is an Associate Professor at the Industrial Design Centre, IIT Bombay. Her film Tanko Bole Chhe (The Stitches Speak) on migration and other memories in Kutch won several national and international awards. In Mukand and Riaz, she captures her grandfather’s pain at the partition of India in 1947. She has illustrated several books for children and is passionate about collaborative work.