Artist Dharshana Bajaj has recently written and published her first book. Like her art, this book too explores the idea of living in harmony with Nature.
Titled Gaia’s Own: Every Child’s Guide To Living In Harmony With Nature, this book is primarily addressed to the as-yet-uninitiated in the concepts related to climate change, specifically children above the age of 12. As the preface to the book says, “Gaia’s Own: Every Child’s Guide To Living In Harmony With Nature is an invitation to every child to get back to the fold, bringing all of humanity with them. Gaia, Mother Earth, is calling. She is calling all her sons and daughters back. It’s time for each of us to rise to the occasion, reset priorities, and follow the way home.
“This book brings to your attention not only facts, but also insights of the wise, both ancient and contemporary, on the radical, deep, and sometimes even simple changes that are required of us. So simple as to be child’s play. And that is why this book is for children everywhere, and the little child in all of us. For we are all Gaia’s own.”
Here is a brief interview with the author.
Q. You are known as a visual artist. What made you write this book?
A. I felt a pressing need to share my concerns and insights on our current climate crisis. To reach more people, via words.
Q.And what do you say has gotten us here, to this present “climate crisis”?
A. The basic premise of the book is that the climate crisis is the result of the human race becoming estranged from its roots, from its connection with Earth and Mother Nature. In securing our comfort and safety, we have lost touch with what it means to be a part of the natural world, to be interconnected with it. We’ve become strangers in our own home. And when we get back to where we truly belong, to being one with Nature, feeling greater love for all it consists of, only then will we begin to find true solutions and ways of living that will be in harmony with the world around us.
Q. And how can children play a part in this? This book is for children, right?
A. This book is for the mature children, in their pre-teens or teens, as well as for the young adult readers. It shares concepts related to climate change and the environment in a personal and wholesome way, via an exchange of emails between a 12-year-old girl and her itinerant grandfather. My focus has been on children because they are still open to forming ideas about the world and the part they can play in it. The book hopes to spread awareness of the issues of the day, and inspire people to think of new solutions and approaches to life. And the book also explains how every single person, be they man, woman, or child, can positively make a difference. Like the Chaos theory mentions, “When a butterfly flaps its wings in the Amazonian rainforest, it can change the weather half a world away”.
Q. Can a 12-year-old understand these things? Children nowadays seem more interested in video games and movies.
A. Yes, I see that in my own child. But I believe its about striving for a healthy balance between what is fun and what is important. I don’t stop my child from his video games or screen time, I limit it, and ensure he gets enough time outdoors.
Q. Is Satvika, the 12-year-old in the book, based on your son?
A. To a certain extent, though not much. I’ve always loved the name ‘Satvika’, and the girl in the book can be considered my “spiritual” daughter. In some ways my own inner child peeks through from her. She stands for the innocence, the love, and the honesty that’s inside us all.
Q.And who is Grandpa Yogesh inspired by?
A. Grandpa Yogesh is an old soul, wisdom and patience personified. He is also a part of me, although the relationship depicted is inspired largely by the sense of family that my child, niece and nephews share with their grandparents.
Q. Lastly, what does the title Gaia’s Own mean?
A. Gaia is the mythical name of Mother Earth, from Greece. It is one of the many ways people have tried to address or talk about the great universal spirit. It’s a lovely name, bringing to mind a very maternal force, protective yet firm. There have been videos depicting that if humans don’t clean up their act, Nature will overcome her troubles my getting rid of us. My book believes that Nature or Gaia will never do that as we are a part of her, not apart from her. We are all an integral part of Nature. And she will find ways to guide us to correct false steps and honour her laws. This book and the wisdom it shares are one of her many, many ways.
Q. Thank you for sharing your views. Where can the readers buy this book?
A. Gaia’s Own is available in select book shops, like Odyssey in Adyar and The Book Shop in Anna Salai, Chennai. It can also be purchased online from sites like Amazon, Flipkart, Pothi, The Dog Ears Book Shop, and Barnes & Noble.