• Can you tell something about yourself?
My name is Pudom Taku. I am currently working as a “District Land Revenue & Settlement Officer” at my hometown Seppa in the East Kameng district of Arunachal Pradesh. The co-author Pumu Taku is my older brother’s daughter.
• How is your book different than others?
This book contains the age-old folktales and legends of the Nyishi tribe of Arunachal Pradesh; this fact alone makes it different than others. Also, the pictures depicting the tribal lifestyle are an added benefit for the readers.
• What was your purpose to retell these folktales?
You might have heard and read about folktales from almost every state of India but our region. The reason behind that solely stems from the fact that no one talks about it anymore in my state. The children are more interested in learning the western culture than our own. See, there is no harm in learning about other cultures but it should not be at the expense of our very own. And these folktales are very part of one’s culture. The fact that these rich stories where dying was the motivating factor for me to document and preserve them.
• How did you collect all the stories in your book?
During this whole journey, I came to know that the only ones who knew these stories perfectly were either the older people or the indigenous shamans/priests living in remote villages. It took me years just to find the correct resource persons and to collect the stories presented in this book from them. The next was to decode their chants and the narrations. A fact unknown to many is that the shamans speak in a pseudo-language. So decoding it took few more years. Finally, I was able to compile it together with the help of my little sister Pumu.
• Are you planning to write a sequel to this book?
Yes, there is a possibility for that too. I have only presented 13 stories in this book that belong to only one tribe of Arunachal Pradesh. There are 26 major tribes and more than a hundred sub-tribes and each with its own unique stories. So, imagine how many more stories could be retold.
• What do you want people to take away from this book?
This book is a simple yet interesting read which will tell you stories that you have never heard before. Through this book, I wish to present to the rest of the world, a little glimpse of our culture. You can also gift it to your kids or your nephews and nieces etc. This book will surely make their imagination run wild and open their young minds to a whole new world.