Getting By, With Our Friends

A tribute to friendships forged in the unlikeliest places.

I met Sonali for breakfast at a cafe in Nungambakkam in September, 2016. The food was good, but the book ideas were better. Aided by her experience as a journalist, Sonali came up with a title for one of her ideas; for a story about a girl who’s scared of Math, and gets over it while befriending a dog: The Dog Who Taught Me Math.

Instantly, we knew this was a title that had to have a book go along with it.

As a first-time children’s book writer, Sonali went through the writing process with diligence. She made a chapter map, and completed a chapter every Sunday morning, on her day off from work. There were times when she struggled with a few points. She would distract herself for a bit,
give it a think, and get back to it soon after.

Over the course of a few weeks, Sonali had the first draft of her book ready. We took it to schools. Children loved it.

We then approached Tanvi Bhat to illustrate it in her unique, warm, and detailed style. She agreed immediately, and put her heart into the characters and the visuals. At one point, Tanvi was following the labradors of Mumbai to be able to draw Kutti better! It was also her idea to add a Rubik’s Cube to Parvathy’s school bag. Here are a few of her sketches:

It’s apparent to anyone who picks up the book today, that there’s a lot of love and goodwill that’s gone into its making. The Dog Who Taught Me Math is and will remain a book that we are all immensely proud of.

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