The Holi Story: Behind the scenes

To celebrate the release of our book on Holi, we would like to give you a little bit of background into how the Jai Jais team put it together and what the story behind the festival means to them.

The Authors

Sunita Shah

Sunita Shah

This was my fathers favourite childhood story yet I only learnt it at 41!! I really enjoyed researching the storyline. I thought it was a lovely tale to be shared. James’ magic brought it to life. It’s great working with Rishi his knowledge and understanding of the scriptures and attention to details is phenomenal. I’m so pleased with the new edition to the Jai Jais festival collection.

Rishi Handa (PhD)

“Having grown up on stories from the Hindu epics, it was pleasing for me to be part of a project which brought them to life for the current generation of children. There is a legacy of thousands of years whose authenticity needs to be upheld and as an Indologist, it was important to me for the re-tellings to be as close to the Sanskrit and vernacular sources as possible. Maintaining the accuracy of the stories while presenting them in a manner palatable for children was an exciting task to undertake.

The story of Prahlāda, the central character of the narrative, leading up to why Hindus celebrate Holi is a beautiful one of devotion (bhakti) and surrender (śaraṇāgati). Here is a child who teaches us that these two ways of living enable us to overcome even the highest obstacles. The story is principally found in the Viṣṇu and Bhāgavata Purāṇas, yet the account with his aunt, Holikā, is not mentioned therein. Either it has come through folk stories or is present in less accessible Purāṇas. Nevertheless, a detailed study of all available material resulted in the child-friendly rendition of the Holī book.”

The Illustrator

James Ballance

James Ballance

I am James Ballance, the illustrator of the Jai Jais books, and I am going to give you a brief insight into how I created the artwork.

Firstly I met up with Sunita and Rishi to read through the book. We decided how the pages should be broken up and which aspects of the story are the most important to be shown in the pictures.

Each drawing started as a small thumbnail, helping me to develop its composition as making sure that all the subject matter is clearly seen.


The key characters were then hand drawn with pen and paper.


Once they were happy I go about colouring in the image. This part is all done on Photoshop using a graphics tablet. Once all the images were coloured they were checked a further time by the authors and corrections made (...usually I will forget a janeu or two!).


They were then all put together with a the cover in InDesign, and sent off for proofing. We all received copies of the proof and inevitably further corrections were made to both the text and the images, because no matter how many times you look at it on a screen it is not till you see the physical book that you notice all the mistakes. For example the colour of the pages and cover were coming out too dark so I had to lighten them all.

When everyone was happy the printer was given the go ahead to print the book. It is then down you our very accomplished online team to put the book on the website and market it through social media channels.

In all the process takes about 2 months to complete each book from start to finish, but we really hope that you enjoy this book that we have put some much time, effort and research into producing for you and your children.

The team would also love to hear from our fans and customers about which book they would like to be seen as part of the Jai Jais collection so please do contact us with your suggestions.

Many thanks,
Team Jai Jais 

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