My cover plate for Punchtantra by Gautam Bhatia (Penguin, 1998) – A wacky take-off on Vishnu Sharma’s Panchatantra, the characters engage with the burning issues of the day—unemployment, oppression, environmental pollution, sexual incompatibility, and they lay bare the hilarious absurdities of our muddled world.
The tree represents knowledge, the parrots – multiple generations – pass on their wisdom, through the spoken word, as was traditionally done in India for centuries. The mommy elephant – patient and wise – ignores her babies’complaints, as one is teased by his older sibling and the monkey, so that they can figure out a way to handle life.
The frogs, are so deeply immersed in gossip , that they are oblivious to the snake lurking in the grass, hungry for his supper.
The squirrel (the artist) is just hanging in there on mommy elephant’s trunk for the ride of her life – through the vulnerable jungle of humanity.
Moral: Focus on your supper, lest you want to become another’s.
Author: Gautam Bhatia
Publishing Date: 1998
Publisher: Penguin Books India
Number of Pages: 232