Priya Sebastian’s Illustrated Children’s Book Deals With Adolescence In Conflict Zones

Priya Sebastian’s book ‘Is It The Same For You?’ published by Seagull Books weaves a fine mesh of domestic intimacy and political happenings through the eyes of an adolescent girl in a place where life has been thrown out of gear.

The 20-page book is set in a place where darkness and light curl around adolescence, where rain-rinsed peaks lance blue skies and life gleams through the silence of curfewed streets. the book has been illustrated by Priya Sebastian, a 50-year-old based in Bengaluru, and Neha Singh, a Mumbai-based writer.

The 12 illustrations in the book are the result of a long, arduous journey for Priya who came to Fine Arts after a detour to Science. Is It The Same For You? follows the arc of a picture book — words are minimal. Priya went on to say, “In this case, Kashmir is never mentioned as the location. It gives it a certain universality and can be situated anywhere in the world — Palestine, Syria, Iraq, or Afghanistan. It looks at how you relate to conflict within the home, not necessarily outside. So there is the commonality of the absent father, preoccupied mother, lack of food, and the neglected girl child. My challenge was how to relate to someone in a conflict zone, say like Kashmir when one lived in the relative peace of the South.”

The book deals with larger issues of terrorism while addressing the struggles of accepting a changing body. It is also a love letter to the little people of a land wrapped in a shawl of war and waiting.

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