We have some exciting news to share! A very special section of our magazine for the very young to teenage readers is taking shape! Nayana Bhattacharya brings to you a column for children living and studying in Switzerland, coming soon in December!
Here’s Nayana telling you how it all began and she also gives us a sneak peek into what’s in store next month!
Going back in Time
When I was growing up, I remember that every Sunday I would beg my father to go to the newsagents and bring home the Sunday broadsheets. Sometimes, I would even walk through the inevitable fog and the mist with him. A trip to the newsagents with my father guaranteed me some kind of revoltingly sweet, fluorescent coloured candy filled with toxic chemicals that were sure to rot my teeth – therein lay the appeal.
Once home, I would deliver the front pages, the sports pages and all that political stuff to my father, the culture and style sections to my mother while keeping the best part to myself – a section aptly named ‘The Funday Times’. Long before ‘Sunday Funday’ became a trending hashtag on social media, Sunday truly was a fun day for me. ‘The Funday Times’ was aimed at children of indiscriminate age. It was the news, but in a condensed format, delivered in bite-size pieces so that we – the children of the 90s- would understand. There was a lot of information about the environment, science, books, writing, sports, math games, crosswords, puzzles, riddles. I could spend the whole day poring over it. Silently, I longed to be one of the children who wrote in with their own articles and were published there. I wrote ideas and notes down, jottings which I stowed in journals that I kept beneath my bed but NEVER sent it in!
Over the years, I outgrew ‘The Funday Times’ and began to vye with my mother for the culture and style sections. Thereafter, I vyed with my father for the political bits – and, by the by, developed political views that were directly opposite to him which meant that our conversations have always been interesting! – And the front pages. The sports section has always been safe for me! But, the memory of ‘The Funday Times’ has remained. I think many of us had our own ‘Funday Times’. One of the more famous examples I can think of is Satyajit Ray’s Bengali magazine for children, ‘Sandesh’. There are innumerable others.
The IndoSwiss Kids’ Chronicle
There are magazines for children in India, in Switzerland, in the UK, in the US – there are magazines for children globally. Visit any Kiosk in the country and you will find magazines for children in virtually every size, shape or colour. When I came up with the idea of a monthly children’s newsletter back in 2019 – titling it ‘The IndoSwiss Kid’s Chronicle’ – I wanted to add something of value and create an identity text which would reflect the lived realities of children of South Asian origin growing, living and learning in Switzerland. In fact, this was the original description: The IndoSwiss Kids’ Chronicle is a first of its kind digital newsletter for children of Indian descent living and learning in Switzerland. The Chronicle’s aim is to celebrate both cultures and introduce the current generation of TCKs (Third Culture Kids) to interesting conversations about cultural identity in a fun, educational and entertaining matter. Above all, it’s about giving Kids a platform to share their ideas and to strengthen their voice.
Next step: Connecting kids across Switzerland
The chronicle ran for ten issues during which I developed wonderful relationships with all the lovely contributors and their families. Today, I’m delighted to share with you the wonderful news that the team at Namaste Switzerland have very kindly offered to absorb it and make it part of Namaste Switzerland’s monthly digital offering. In December, we will return together with a brand new name and format.
A sneak peek!
We will widen our scope and we will be welcoming contributions from children from all cultures and backgrounds, both ex-pat and otherwise. We will be going international while also retaining our Swiss-Indian (some might say ‘Swindian’ heart!). We are looking for articles, reviews, creative writing and paintings. So put your creative hats on! There will be a light selection process. We’ll start with space for prose/poetry submissions by children each month as well as space for a monthly gallery which will be able to accommodate three works of art. Each month will also have a specific theme. I look forward to sharing more details soon! The theme for December, of course, is Christmas and winter!
I’m delighted about this new direction and I hope you will encourage our young creatives by reading and sharing their work. See you in December!
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