Be! Skill: Building, maintaining & using relationships. The power of social connections and networks.
The village of Sambandhpur is buzzing with excitement.
A mela (carnival) is coming to a nearby village and it is all Bijali, age 10, and her best friend Pankhuri hear everyone talking about.
Bijali asks her dadi (grandmother) if she can go to the mela, her dadi agrees but when she rushes to see if Pankhuri can go too, her parents refuse. Pankhuri, like Bijali, does not go to school and has to stay home and do housework. Bijali promises to tell Pankhuri about everything they see at the mela.
And so Bijali, and a line of women, go to the nearby village.
And it is just as marvelous, magical and wonderful as she could imagine.
When she gets home she goes straight to Pankhuri to tell her all about the mela. But she realizes telling her friend about it is not enough. Pankhuri is so sad she missed it. Bijali decides if Pankuri can’t go to the carnival, she will bring the carnival to Pankhuri.
Bijali calls him on the phone but he says he will only bring the carnival to her village if 200 people say they will come. He tells Bijali she must bring him proof, which means Bijali needs to get 200 signatures.
Broken-hearted Bijali tells her grandmother what the mela manager said. And Bijali’s grandmother answered, “Well then, let’s see how many people you do know!” Bijali’s journey to build relationships begins. She begins with who she knows – her mother, father, grandmother, and who they know. And slowly, one by one, she collects signatures. As Bijali networks her way through her village she becomes more confident talking to people. All she must do is think of reasons why each person would want the mela to come.
Bijali’s older brother is not happy that his younger sister is going all around the village talking to everyone and he forbids her from leaving the house.
Will Bijali get enough signatures before the mela passes by her village?
Will the mela manager keep his word?
Will she fulfill her wish of Pankuri seeing a real carnival?
This delightful tale of stitching social connections together is set in rural Gujarat. The book will be out later this year.