Be Prepared - Uma Anand

Edition Details:

Format: Paperback | Page Count: 64 | Publisher: National Book Trust | Illustrator: Satyasewak Mukherjee


The exams were  over and the vacations had begun. Kapil was very happy. He was a scout who used to go to Scout Camps during his holidays but this time he was going to his uncle Vijay's place at Tara.

Navin was Kapil's friend who was studious in nature. He used to keep himself busy with his books. But now he was free too. So when Kapil asks him to come with him to his uncle's place he readily agrees. 

According to Kapil this vaccation is going to be full of avdentures for them. 

How did Kapil and Navin's vacation go? 
What all did they do in Tara? 

Main Characters:

Kapil and Navin - Two Fourteen Year old Boys
Vijay Kapur - Kapil's uncle who's is Physical education teacher in a school near Shimla and lives with his family in Tara
Rekha - Vijay's daughter and Kapil's sister
Ramu and Rani - Children of Mr Rao.Station master of Tara Railway Station.
Jaswant - Kapil's friend in Tara

My Views

Last year I had gone to Shimla book fair and from there had bought some children's books. 'Be Prepared' by Uma Anand was one such book. As there was no synopsis at the back of the book I had no way of knowing the story but I had quickly turned the pages and had seen the illustrations and had gauzed that I may like it. And after reading it I'm glad I bought this book. 

Be Prepared by Uma Anand is a novelette which was first published in 1975. It was basically written to promote the scout movement in India. I remember in our school days my cousins were studying in goverment school and there they could join NCC but for me who was in convent there was no option of doing so. Iknew from their experiences that you learn a lot in NCC and after reading this book it seems you did learn a lot by being a scout.

At that time I used to see my cousins and hear there NCC stories and camps they did during the holidays and I used to think it would be fun being there. But alas I didn't get the opportunity then.

Anyways coming back to the book, Be Prepared gets it title from the Bharat Scouts and guides moto 'Be Prepared' which means you should always be prepared in your life to tackle the situations that may come up.

Kapil laughed. "I'm just fourteen,Sir, but i'm a scout and our motto is BE PREPARED, so i always carry a first aid kit and a few tools with me on a journey."

At the center of the story are two boys Kapil and Navin who are friends and whose exams have ended.  Kapil is a scout but Navin is not as he is more interested in studies and also since he has to help his father in the shop and so doesn't get much time to do anything else. So when their exams end and vacation starts Kapil asks Navin to accompany him to his uncle's (chacha's) place at Tara. When Navin gets permission of his parents the two boys start their journey to Tara. The majority of the story is about how they spend their vacations at Tara. What all they do there? And how Navin finally sees that what all can one learn by being a scout? Navin is a typical city boy who doesn't know much about first aid, being handy with tools for repairing things, discipline or about living and fending in nature. During this vacation he has such experiences which make him realise that these skills are also necessary and enrolling in a Scouts and guide program can equip one with such skills.

The book is divided into small chapters and by experiences of Kapil and Navin it shows the reader the importance of being a scout and how the skills learned during the scout training could come in handy. Also, since Tara is a moutain village the book depicts the chunks of life that people lead there. I come from hills of Garhwal so for me this a familiar life and i could relate to it. 

It's a simple story told in a very lucid and simple language. It's aimed for readers of 12-14 years of age and i think they would enjoy reading it. I'm very much older than them and i did enjoy reading it. It was fun being with Kapil and Navin during their vacations.

I do felt the book was short but i guess it's because of my age. Also, since the main characters are boys the book focuses on being a scout. There is a bulbul (a girl between the age of 5 to 10 can become a bulbul. Boy between 5 and 10 become cubs.) in the story and Kapil's sister Rekha is a Guide (A girl between age 10 to 17 becomes a Guide) but she doesn't get much space in the story. If she could also have been part of the adventures than the reader could learnt about guides too and how this movement benefits them. One still does but not that much as the focus is on boys. I think a little bit more space should have been given to her.   

The book also comes with illustrations by Satyasevak Mukherjee and they enhance the experience of reading the book. 

Be Prepared - Uma Anand | National Book Trust
Satyasevak Mukherjee's Illustrations in the Book

I enjoyed reading Be prepared. It's written for promoting scout movement and it does the job.  Before reading the book I knew only about NCC but didn't knew much about scouts and guides but now that's not the case. It will definitely make the reader want to become a scout himself.

Post a Comment

* Please Don't Spam Here. All the Comments are Reviewed by Admin.
  1. This review shows not only the story which is well written but also encourages about NCC and Scouts and guides activites. They really build your personality and keep you prepared and make you stand out different.


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