The Tale of Babban Hajjam is set in the Kingdom of Rajatpur, where something strange is going on. Barbers (babban) are summoned to serve King Bhanu Pratap, and then- poof! They would mysteriously disappear! Babbans across the land fled the kingdom, but Babban Hajjam did not. Instead, he decided to stay and unravel the mystery of the missing babbans.
Babban Hajjam discovers a pair of horns sat on the king’s head! This is the reason for the mysterious disappearances! Fearing the worst, he begged for mercy. The king spares Hajjam on the condition that he must take the secret to his grave. Hajjam agrees, but the secret gnaws at him. Then one day, he dashes to a forest and blurts out the king’s secret into an empty well, where… a little plant heard it.
The rest of the story takes us through the journey of the little plant- how it reaches the palace, and how it reveals the closely guarded secret. The Tale of Babban Hajjam is a folk tale retold and is set in a world where reality bends a little to allow for the storytelling.
The story is about accepting oneself. And more importantly, that it is okay to laugh at ourselves. In fact, it can even save a life!
Folk Tales, by Karadi Tales
The publisher of this book, Karadi Tales, has an amazing reputation when it comes to reworking folk tales – Monkey and the Capseller, The Rumour, Kutti and the Mouse, The Story and the Song, and so on. If you are looking for a book version of an Indian folk tale, then you can close your eyes and pick the Karadi Tales version.
As expected, this book is also really well made- Ira Saxena’s writing is crisp and well-paced. Mayukh Ghosh’s illustrations are gorgeous.
After all, who doesn’t love a good rush of adrenaline through the mind of a child, determined to save her best friend from a big, scary monster?
Have you read The Tale of Babban Hajjim yet?
Comment below and let us know what you think!
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