Adventures of Funny and Bana : Maintaing new tropes in Children’s Literature

Singh, R. P.
Adventures of Funny and Bana
Publisher: Gutenberg Publications, New Delhi
Year: 2019
Pages: 65
Price: ₹ 100

Review by: Sumedha Dwivedi


The development of a child, related ability of critical thinking and the tenets of creative problem solving arise from the ability of the child to imagine things. In a world where thinking out of the box is encouraged in life as well as in the various careers that children of today might take up in the future; their ability to imagine situations that require critical thinking skills and creative problem solving abilities play an important role in the development of a child‟s personality. Imagination opens up a lot of doors, which, in turn, become possibilities where „creative- play‟ forms a major part of how children learn about the world. While there were times when children were encouraged to watch television or cartoons which had little to do with their imagination, today, a child is encouraged to play with play dough, be creative with the help of blocks and Legos and probably mix materials like water and oil; water and dirt to see what effect they have on each other. There is also an added emphasis on outdoor activities which may require them to form trains or run through maze or other forms of activities which ensure an active engagement of all their senses.
The more imaginative a child's recreation is, the better is their cognitive thinking and problem solving abilities. In a world like today where we are locked inside our homes and the opportunities for children to go outside and play are not available, creative writing in the form of imaginative poems and stories, invention of scenarios, verbal activities, art activities and the existence of highly creative cartoons available on YouTube like Peppa Pig etc. are nothing less than boons.
Imagination plays an important role in the early development of a child. It improves verbal skills and memory, dexterity, empathy and insight in a child. Poetry has always been a saviour of humanity, and even today comes handy in promoting the development of a child; this is the reason why nursery rhymes are highly imaginative and recommended for toddlers. Allowing a child, free play of imagination helps in reducing aggression and gives them an
opportunity to engage in their imaginative thoughts and creativity. Albert Einstein once said that the true sign of intelligence is not knowledge but the ability of an individual to imagine.
Adventures of Funny and Bana by R. P. Singh is one such long narrative work in poetry that enables a child to think out of the box, and it creates a world where the ability of the child is shown to freely imagine the scenarios created by the poet. The story revolves around two little girls - Funny and Bana who live in a small village that is situated next to a huge forest which has an array of fruits and a large variety of trees that are lined in rows. There are various fruits like Jamuns and pears and lots and lots of colourful flowers. R.P. Singh has very creatively painted, here, the image of a forest that revolves around the thinking abilities of a child which extends only till good fruits and beautiful flowers. The plot of the work , later offers the existence of a so called „big giant‟ that according to the stories of the „flowerwala‟ lives in the forest. This could also be a way of keeping the children away from the mighty threats of any forest. Moving ahead ,the poet, takes you into the mysteries of the jungle which are bound to leave any child wondering what comes next. With the jungle being described as a slightly more cooler and dense place but haunted by a giant. The imagery of the giant gobbling up people as if they were figs is creative as well as very captivating.
It is said that the giant lives at the back of the forest and no one dared to go there. According to the „flowerwala‟ the giant was big, furious and wild and people tremble like leaves in front of it. There was a palace of gold which the giant inhabited and that‟s when the children usually slept. The story then moves on to how Funny has a dream in which she was beating up the giant. Funny screamed because of the bad dream but there was no one at home to listen. She then goes and seeks help from every child‟s best friend and protector, their dog who goes by the name Droopy because of his eyes. They, along with Bana venture out into the forest in search of the giant. Droopy the dog is one tall storyteller himself in R.P. Singh‟s poem when he claims to have almost killed the giant at an occasion.
“I know him too well,
Once I fought,
and beaten him
almost to death.”
The poem then moves ahead to the time when the two children and Droopy are planning to go to the giant Bhala‟s den and make him run away. Funny, her best friend Bana and Droopy together set sail to go to the forest. They giggled, gurgled and thought about their plan of action. Upon reaching the forest with their backpacks on and morale high, they began looking
for the giant. At a time of the day when most of the world sleeps, these three were out on an adventure. The forest was a treat for them with numerous kinds of fruits and flowers.
“Now the three were across the mound.
Wow! A forest with beautiful grove
many fruits- so festive it looked,
litchi, mangoes, Jamun and
Jackfruits
The wines of grapes
and different other
of all kind and all shapes.”
They also came across hives of honey bees and the beautiful sound of the water flowing in the river. Even though they could not locate the giant, they did see several tents and the little explorers set out to inspect them. They found that the tents belonged to poachers and there were several animals inside in cages and tusks of elephants that they had poached. The children and Droopy then took help of the giant army of honey bees and attacked the poachers who did not see this coming. R.P. Singh ends the Adventures of Funny and Bana filled with bravery on the note that they were rewarded for their actions and the forest was subsequently developed into a National Park.
“They were praised
with many prize.
They were back home
in mood full pleasant!
It was free-
the land of giant,
which was nothing
but the hunter‟s plan!”

Adventures of Funny and Bana takes its reader into the whirlwind adventure that the main characters set upon. It is full of imagery that appeals to young readers and their thought process. The way in which the author has described certain aspects of the long narrative lays an emphasis on his deep insight into the young mind. The one particular aspect that is absolutely amazing about the Adventures of Funny and Bana is the acts of bravery and righteousness. The way in which the two little girls and their dog show bravery, and are rewarded would inspire young minds to take the path of truth and overcome their fears. The forest here is also representative of the inner fears and apprehensions of the human mind that can be overcome only when we face the challenges before us head on and fearlessly. At a time when the world is laying emphasis on teaching young girls to not wait for the knight to rescue them; a poem where the characters are female and show immense bravery despite being so young is something to look forward to.

About the reviewer: Sumedha Dwivedi is a Research Scholar at the Department of Humanities and Social Sciences, Dr. Ram Manohar Lohiya National University, Lucknow. Her doctoral research work is in Cultural Studies, and she is working on Parsi Literature.

3 comments :

  1. Excellent review done by the scholar. She has done a tremendous job. Highly appreciable.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I really enjoyed reading it. Very well written 🙂

    ReplyDelete
  3. A fine effort. An extremely detailed analysis of Prof Singh's work goes onto show the meticulous study of the reviewer.

    ReplyDelete

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