SAIIER 2018:“Yusuf and the Little Mouse”

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Translation of “Petit cahier d'exercices...”
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SAIIER 2017-18
“Yusuf and the Little Mouse”


“Yusuf and the Little Mouse” is a story which Mother told to young students in the Ashram school. This project is to publish the story in a picture-book form which would be interesting and informative to readers. The project was initiated by SAIIER, who commissioned illustrator Ruchi Mhasane (writing below) to create the illustrations.

Description of project:

The story told by Mother was to inform young people of the discipline and self-control required over one’s own mind before one can achieve any form of enlightenment or wisdom. The protagonist of the story fails in his simple task just because he has allowed the wandering of his mind to undermine his rightfully held belief. The story is light, but the message profound. It was an ideal story to put in the form of a picture book and bring to life through illustrations.

Reflections:

This project is currently in progress and this question will be better answered on its completion. However, some of the process can be shared.

It was very important for me as an illustrator to keep the focus on Yusuf and his spiritual dilemma and to take away focus from any religious aspect of the story, like the background of the characters, their clothing which may suggest a specific religion or community, or even ethnicity, even though obviously the story belongs to ancient south India (with the reference to river Neela). Working in black and white is hugely liberating for this reason.

Another crucial part of the book was to include Mother’s introduction before she began the story, which helps the reader to better make sense of the message of the story.