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books & more - A Prize-winning Author

When Ramendra Kumar’s daughter preferred watching television to reading books, he decided to wean her away from the Idiot Box with stories
Ramendra Kumar probably holds the record for winning the largest number of prizes in the competition for children’s writers conducted by the Children’s Book Trust in the year 2001. He has won accolades for his writing and has several books to his credit. Interestingly enough, Kumar is a qualified engineer. He followed this degree with one in Management and then began working. How did someone from this background find himself writing? And writing stories for children?

Kumar began his writing career with poetry and satirical pieces which were appreciated. But when his own daughter preferred watching television to reading books, he decided to do something. A visit to his daughter’s school, where he narrated a story to her class showed him the right way and Kumar decided that he would try and wean his daughter away from her infatuation for the television set with stories. The stories he wrote were appreciated not only by her but by her friends too. And that was how Ramendra Kumar, the children’s writer was born.

In the years since he penned his first story and tasted success with it, Kumar has written extensively. Several collections of his stories have appeared. Terror in Fun City is his latest book. This book takes a look at the bogeyman of our times — terrorism. A group of children find themselves in the middle of a mystery when one of them overhears a sinister conversation. The children pit their wits against those of the bad men; they race to catch the culprits and put an end to the diabolic plot that has been hatched. Do they succeed in their fight or do they find that they have bitten off more than they can chew? In the pipeline is a sequel to Terror in Fun City, a treat mystery lovers can look forward to.


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Ramendra Kumar answers 5 & 1/2 Qs

If you want to know more about Ramendra Kumar, he can be reached at 25ramendra@gmail.com You can also learn more about him by visiting his website at www.ramendra.com
1. Are your books aimed at boys or girls?
My stories are aimed at the young and the young at heart.

2. Two elements that you consider necessary to write a good story.
Great imagination and a very good command over the language.

3. Do you think realistic fiction is always grim?
Not at all. Many of my stories in the Here and Now genre or reality fiction are full of fun. The thrill of sports, the euphoria of growing up, the excitement of school life, the masti at festivals — my stories are a montage of these sentiments.

4. What, according to you, is the role of violence in books for children?
Violence cannot be ignored. It is all around us — in movies, on TV, in computer games and on the Internet. It doesn’t make sense to pretend that it doesn’t exist. I think we writers should depict violence without glorifying it. Violence should never be portrayed as a solution to a problem, rather it should be condemned.

5. Your favourite character from the stories you have written?
My favourite character is Aryan, the hero of Terror in Fun City, my latest novel. He is a 14-year-old orphan who owns a small tea shop. He has a lot of spunk, is a real fighter and believes in the values of camaraderie and bonding. I like him because I feel that he and I share many qualities.

And the 1/2 question -
Tell us half the story of your next book.

My next book which is a sequel to Terror in Fun City is based on cricket. A bunch of mercenaries are out to destroy the spirit of cricket. The Titans, led by Aryan, launch a counter offensive. Their adventure takes them on a cruise liner to an exotic island in the Indian Ocean. A don from the slums of Hyderabad, a lively anchor, a dashing cricketer, a TV commentator and a charismatic head of state move in and out of the narrative even as the Titans once again find themselves getting sucked into a whirlpool of intrigue, suspense and danger…