“With shaking hands Anand opened the right-hand drawer of the dressing table . . . .” Anand didn’t know what to do. How could he ever be happy again. His friend Rami, the gardener’s grand-daughter, and the gardener had been sent away and it was all his fault. Maybe – just maybe – his and Rami’s old rag doll Seethu could help him. For Seethu could think; she could talk; she was a wonder doll!
Shanta Rameshwar Rao (1924–2015) wrote and told stories for most of her life. For her, story-telling was as natural as breathing; she believed that stories emerged from deep within and that in the telling and writing, they changed both teller and listener. She wrote for children and adults, and indeed her works have been enjoyed by people of all ages. She is best known for her retelling of Indian myths and legends. Her wide repertoire includes books like Tales of Ancient India (translated into several languages), The Bulbul’s Ruby Nose-ring, Seethu, Bekanna and the Musical Mice, Chathu—The Elephant Boy (co-authored with Karoor Nilakanta Pillai), In Worship of Shiva, and her retelling of the Mahabharata (now used as essential course material in story-telling courses in universities in the UK). Her novel, Children of God, was published to critical acclaim. She was invited by the Sahitya Akademi to write on the life and teachings of Jiddu Krishnamurti.
A dedicated and inspired educationist, Shanta Rameshwar Rao founded the Vidyaranya School in Hyderabad in 1961, a space where, as she believed, children could learn with joy, creativity and in a spirit of questioning.