January 31, 2004 

Inspiration for the day

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Sumangala, Desamangalam Manaikkal, Vadakkancherry, Thrissur

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During the second childhood that is old age, she continues to enthrall children with her lucid story-telling.  68-year-old Sumangala, the writer of children’s stories, is best known for her recreation of Panchatantra tales, which has gone into 2 dozen editions so far.

Born as Leela Namboodirippad to Rig Veda interpreter Olappamanna O.M.C Narayanan Namboothiri and Uma Antharjanam, she learned Sanskrit and Malayalam from her father in addition to her regular class work.  But when she started writing stories for children, the burden of learning did not weigh her down.  She was able to write lucidly and plainly and in a children-friendly manner, as attested by the success of her books and columns in periodicals.

Sumangala initially wrote for her own children and modified her stories to suit the taste of the young critics.  Later for a decade starting from 1965, she wrote in the magazine ‘Poompatta’.  For 22 years she was the Public Relations Officer at Kerala Kalamandalam and during the time wrote many abridged stories based on Puranas.

200 stories in 10 books are her published works.  During the 3 decades of her literary service, she has been honoured with many awards including the Kerala Sahitya Akademy award for children’s literature 1979 and the Social Welfare award of the State Government in 1980.  Now a member of the Institute of Children’s Literature, she considers the letters from children addressing her as ‘Grandma’ as her greatest reward.

Sumangala lives with her husband at Vadakkancherry.  Her children are Usha, Narayanan and Ashta Moorthy.



Courtesy: K.J.Arun, Malayalam, May 10, 2002

Contributed by: Administrator


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