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'Kahani' Children's Magazine Makes Its Debut

Nirmala Garimella
08/09/2004

Once upon a time, three mothers who lived around Boston came up with an idea. Their names were Monica Jain, Radhika Ramdev and Leena Chawla.They all had children who were cool kids that played soccer, read books in the library, and had play dates. But they were unaware that their mothers were conspiring together to make them, ‘cool’ in a way they never dreamed about. They were creating a story about them, for them and of them. The idea was Kahani, a magazine designed especially for kids from South Asia but living outside of that region. The magazine would have stories that would mirror their everyday lives, where they could be American and at the same time South Asian and still feel cool about who they are.

This is their Kahani( story)

Monica Jain – Editor

Kahani is an idea that has festered in my mind for years. Very often, I take my daughter Sejal to the local library and find that the books she chooses have characters and milieu that is totally Caucasian. I knew in my mind that there has got to be something more out there that our kids can relate to. There are illustrators, writers and artists and a wealth of talent from people of South Asia . It was a question of getting all of it in one place. The idea of starting a magazine was easy but to put it together was an effort. My mother came up with the name ‘Kahani” which means story in hindi. Part of our mission is not only to give stories to these kids but to provide a platform for writers, illustrators and artists of kids’ fiction.

Radhika Ramdev – Art Director

Oh, yes, we were all working part time at a point and when my daughter Sana had a play date, we got talking and when Monica discussed the idea, I offered to do the layout for the magazine. It was exciting. We have a varied talent in our illustrators. Each of them had a portfolio with their own styles. The story was given to them and they developed the drawings based on the story. All the illustrations are special for Kahani and exclusive of it. Even the popular cartoon Badmash will be created specially for Kahani.

Leena Chawla – Business Director

We met through a mutual friend and I thought of it as worthwhile proposition, because I felt the same way with two kids, Anusha, 5 and Rishi, 2. The magazine industry is a tough one and we researched on the economics of it to see if it was viable, I have a business background and was willing to do the marketing aspect of it. So the first thing we did for 7 to 9 months was learn all about the magazine business. It was a learning experience. The pricing was also carefully thought about. In my mind, for just $5.00 per issue, you are getting a magazine that has so much packed into it – The value is tremendous. Also we hope to build up a strong subscription base during the first six months. I hope all parents realize that it is a good investment. There are no advertisements in the main body of the magazine and we hope to keep it that way. That is our commitment to the readers.

Rameeta Khurana – Technology/Operations Director

I joined the Board much later than its inception. Leena is a good friend of mine and I found the idea interesting. Although I have older daughters, Malika and Irene, I have a background in Information Technology and offered my skills for this project. The passion of the team is undeniable. The website was initially created with help from Nandita Bajpai and I later came on and refined it. Part of the process is to make the website www.kahani.com as a marketing and subscription interface. It has numerous possibilities and is an important medium. It can be used for customer feedback and other various forms of communication.

Kahani (story) is a South Asian children’s magazine for children ages 6 and 10 that will hit the stands and will be on display at the Independence Day celebrations on August 15th at the Hatch Shell. Designed, created and conceptualized by Monica Jain. Radhika Ramdev, Leena Chawla and Rameeta Khurana, the magazine is backed up by an impressive editorial and advisory Board, with names like Lisa Dierks, Nancy Gruver, UmaKrishna Swami,and and an advisory board of Desh Deshpande, Gita Iyer and Seema Moreira. For just little over $5 per issue, Kahani packs in a whole lot of value: short stories, a biography series, interactive puzzles, book/Web site/software reviews and even an original cartoon strip Badmash. To build a strong subscriber base, Kahani will be marketed for the next six months and will go on a bimonthly schedule starting 2005.

For more details log on to www.kahani.com



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L-R, Monica Jain, Rameeta Khurana, Radhika Ramdev, Leena Chawla

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