Sochu – A Children’s Book by Fellow Punekar Chetan Vohra

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Today’s children are far smarter than we used to be back in the day. While I used to chew on chalk, my 12-years-younger-than-me brother knew how to YouTube Tom & Jerry videos for himself at the same age. As technologically advanced they may be, they are just as impressionable as any other five year old. Unfortunately, a lot of children’s entertainment created today is violent, arrogant, mindless and subtly perverse (for the enjoyment of adults as well). Johnny Bravo is a ruthless womanizer, Disney princesses’ only aim is to find a man, and our beloved superheroes are hot-heads. What the kids need is someone to teach them to stop and think before reacting.

Sochu Kumar is a little boy who is led by his thinking more than his impulse. The books are meant to glorify thinking and help kids see problem-solving as a fun activity. The different characters in the books are created carefully to help kids develop a sense of living harmoniously with those around them. Each book contains a ‘bread crumb’, a tiny story about a great personality, just enough to intrigue them into finding out more about the said personality. They are violence-free and encourage health and fitness through the character of Sochu’s mother who practices Yoga.

The stories revolve around interesting concepts like thinking outside the box, where Sochu and his friend Raju go on a quest to find the box, outside of which they can think! In another story Sochu imagines all the things he could be when he grows up. The books plant subtle seeds of wisdom in the children’s minds with phrases such as “Be the change you wish to see” in the world. The characters and books are already a favourite of many, as proven by the story sessions conducted at IB and ICSE schools as well as municipality schools.

Sochu was conceptualised by Chetan Vohra, a cinematographer with seven years of experience in Bollywood feature films and ads. “I really believe, at least in our country, entertainment guides our behaviour,” he explains, and he aims to create healthy and useful entertainment for children, after all they are the future. The project has been self-funded by Chetan himself until now. They look for crowd-funding and not investors because they don’t want to shift the focus from the educational bit to ROI. Chetan’s final goal is to bring Sochu to the masses through an audio-visual medium in the form of a TV show. Up till now, Chetan and his team have finished writing rough drafts of 26 books and polished drafts of the first four. The first four books will be available in 31 bookstores across the country and Amazon on December 25. What better to gift your children for Christmas?!

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