As the title suggests, The Cycle’s Dream is about a cycle that wishes to be a motorcycle when it “grow(s) up”. It dreams of zooming on the streets of villages and towns and travelling long distances. The cycle morphs into a motorcycle as the story progresses and visits lands far and near. Having covered great distances, it suddenly runs out of fuel, and unfortunately for the motorcycle, the closest petrol station flashes a signboard that says: “Please do not bring vehicles here. The oil in the world is finished.”

Meanwhile, there are kabaadiwalas on the streets hollering for scrap. The motorcycle realizes that they are on the prowl for discarded vehicles and it panics. It transforms itself back into a cycle for fear of dying “a motorcycle’s death”. The story ends with the cycle making peace with the fact that it does not have to take on the role of a motorcycle to roam the forest and fields.

The Cycle’s Dream, which was created as part of the ‘Damroo’ project of the Industrial Design Centre, IIT-Bombay, has a weak storyline, which is further enfeebled by the illustrations and design. The book has been published on recyclable brown-card paper, which gives it a wonderful, earthy smell. However, besides this, the book does not have any other strengths to boast of. The illustrations – vaguely resembling poster paint patches – are entirely in black and barely make an impression. They are confusing and not very child-friendly. The pages are unevenly sized and this design does not have any bearing on the verbal or the visual narrative.

The story, originally in Hindi, is poorly translated and does not flow well. There is hardly any conflict and the resolution is easily achieved. The Cycle’s Dream could have served as a supplement to a lesson on oil depletion if only the text and the illustrations had been put together in a much more engaging and colourful manner.

By Nithya Shivashankar

Author: Prabhat
Translated from Hindi by Tultul Biswas
Illustrator: Bidyut Rai
16 pages
ISBN: 978-93-81300-70-1
Eklavya, 2013
Subject category: Contemporary/Environment

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