Longlongtimeago.com was started in 2002, with the objective of making available in one place, traditional tales from around the world. It was born of my own love for stories, a love acquired in my childhood from Ma, my grandmother, who was a great believer in the power of stories. She had a story for every occasion and every non-occasion in my small life – for mealtimes, bedtimes, not-wanting-to-go-to-school times, even for I’m-bored times. Tummy aches, measles, and grazed knees, she soothed them all through stories. It was through stories, too, that she taught me about the world, and how to tell right from wrong, for her lessons in morals always came disguised as tales of high adventure.
The website thus began as a story resource for children and their parents, and accordingly I wrote and retold traditional stories so that they were suitable in both style and content for young children. As I explored the world of stories more, I became convinced that there is a story behind every person, every event, every little thing that we see around us. And so I began to gather other tales: tales from history, or those behind great scientific discoveries, stories of exploration, stories of celebration. Over time, the nature of the website changed – so that today the site is not only for young children, but for all lovers of story, old and young.
The website is now in its second avatar, and growing, albeit slowly, too slowly. It is still, and likely to always remain, very much a work in progress. It is also very much a labour of love.
There are many people who have helped bring this website where it is today – friends and family who have contributed ideas, illustrations and stories. I owe a special debt of gratitude to Ashok Rajagopalan, artist, illustrator, fellow writer, and one of my dearest friends, for his luminous and charming illustrations that have added considerably to the website; and to my daughters Vipasha Bansal, who has helped edit and illustrate many of the tales, and Vidisha Bansal, who has always been ready with ideas, suggestions and feedback on our work.
My grateful thanks also to Sudarshan Hegde, and his talented team at Sincia, who designed, developed and created this website as you see it today.
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