Saturday, August 14, 2010

Hot-Hot Roti for Dada-ji by F.Zia

Hot-hot roti, bubbling and sputtering with ghee on the hot-hot tavva....mmmm!

N.N and Aneel

Aneel is N.N, except two- to- three years younger, with almost the same elfin, rounded face, neatly fringed hair, and mischevious, ebony eyes. In reality, how Ken sees Aneel may be an entirely different story. By the time HHRFDJ is in the market, N.N , of course, will be two years older and I suspect, no longer the cute elfin fourth grader of yore.

July 26, 2010 11:50 AM

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How it got started

If you want to know the real scoop, I wrote 'Hot-Hot Roti for Dada-ji' because I wanted A.Z.L, S.Z.L and G.F.Z to say one day, "This is Amma's special gift to us." The idea for the story came to me during a walk through the neighborhood. I wanted the story to be fun, endearing, and at the same time, unique enough to be vastly familiar to American children of South Asian ethnicities. And let's face it, a story about roti hissing on a smoky tavva is as Indian as it can get. By the end of my walk, I had the story framed in my mind and much in the way that water, flour and salt come together in roti dough, the words came together and the story was cooked. In retrospect, taking it to the next level was not too arduous either, thanks to the miraculous reaches of the internet. I started shooting off query letters into cyber space and Ann replied one day, unexpectedly, and by golly, she was interested! The stars must have aligned just so when Russ of the former Scovil, Chichak, Galen forwarded an unsolicited manuscript to a newly named VP for the fledgling juvenile department at his literary agency. Opening Ann's email from Apa's desktop in Chicago, clearly ranks among the unforgettable moments in my personal history. Ann opened the door to Jennifer, at Lee and Low and it looks like the hot-hot roti is steaming and bubbling, just as I write, and getting ready to wind its way to the dinner table!