The Sunrays: Origin Story

The Sunrays project is a passion. It is very dear to the hearts of the authors. Let us run you through the how / where/ why of it all. E-mail had started becoming popular as a means of official communication around the year 2000. Some people started sending jokes to their friends through email.

During one of his visits to Prashanti Nilayam, Puttaparthi, the abode of Bhagwan Sri Sathya Sai Baba, Sanjay Tandon happened to buy a desk calendar containing quotes from the discourses of Baba. There was a quote for every day. Taking Inspiration from these quotes Sanjay Tandon, started sending a one-liner; Good Thought; to some people through email in the year 2000. Initially he had to bear the brunt of some ridicule too. But he persisted in his endeavour. His friends nick-named him, ‘Mr Good thought’. Later, at the suggestion of his wife Priya, he started emailing an Inspirational story to them on each Sunday.

On an official visit to Reliance Communication at Bombay, he met his friend Mr V. K. Gandhi who praised his ‘Good thought and story’ email venture profusely. He suggested that it would be wonderful if these Sunday stories could be compiled into a book. This sowed a seed in the mind of Sanjay. The couple Priya and Sanjay got down to putting these stories together. Priya illustrated each story with a simple pencil sketch.

With inspiration from Sathya Sai Baba and the perseverance and perspiration of the authors, was created was a work of devotion A compendium of these Sunday stories was released in the name and style of Sunrays for Sunday in the year 2004. The amount of appreciation that poured in from all quarters was enough for them to think that they should make another book and then yet another …

Sunrays for Monday, Sunrays for Tuesday, Sunrays for Wednesday and Sunrays for Thursday followed and each one was blessed by Bhagwan Baba.

The couple continued their noble endeavour, even after Baba left the mortal coil. They released Sunrays for Friday in September 2016 and Sunrays for Saturday in the year 2018, in their effort to divinize each day of the week and resultantly each day of the year. The stories contained here-in, aim to awaken the finer instincts latent in each of us; such that they
become patent in our lives.

The letters and messages that the authors have received from people the world over, telling them how these little stories have helped them to better themselves are proof that their efforts have borne fruit. People of all ages, from all communities are using these books. They are a great resource for parents and teachers to teach value based stories to their wards. They are a great resource for public speaking too, because if quoted proficiently they touch a chord with the audience amidst any business/ executive address. They make great gifts too. If you gift a book instead of a bouquet, it will last forever!

It may not be inappropriate to mention here that taking cognizance of their Corporate Social Responsibility the authors are doing many other social service activities through their NGO ‘Competent Foundation’. These books are also part of their CSR initiative and the proceeds from the sale of these books are used for charity.

Everyone loves a good story. The art of storytelling has been known since time immemorial. Whether you grew up reading Bedtime stories, Enid Blyton, Archie comics, Amar Chitra Katha, Chanda mama, Chacha Chaudhary or Dada-dadi ki kahaniyaan… stories have always tickled the imagination of kids and adults alike.

The quest for the unknown is what keeps the reader intrigued. For that the story teller has to have the skill to keep the reader glued to the book. In the present times where everyone’s mind is clogged with media, multimedia, social networking sites, socializing per se, work pressures, peer pressures etc., the authors of this series of books have something different to offer.

If we look back some years, mothers and grandmothers used to tell stories to children. The values hidden in those stories were imbibed by the children in a subtle manner. In today’s date, let alone parents, even grandparents do not have time to share anything value based with their children. No wonder the values that we as a society were so proud of, are fast depleting.

The Sunrays series of books are essentially works of love and devotion. They are an endeavour to encapsulate into simple stories the human values that are so important to make a ‘man’, out of a man. It is like administering a bitter pill to a baby, under a sugar coating. The taste is camouflaged, but the doze is delivered! Each book in this collection contains 52 Inspirational Short Stories of two pages each. Every story is preceded by a quote chosen from the discourses of Bhagwan Sri Sathya Sai Baba and is accompanied by a simple pencil sketch done by Priya Tandon that ensures that the story remains etched in the mind of the reader. The stories in these books are a humble endeavour to invite you to delve into the fascinating world of value based story-reading and story-telling.

The authors urge the readers to read and share an Inspirational story with their family at least once a week. It could be anywhere and at any time. The dining table is perhaps the best place to do it.

Family time is bonding time. Storytelling and sharing is a great way to spend time together. This is a very important tool for good parenting as well as teaching. It is in the formative years that the mind of a child is like a blank slate or like wet clay. Whatever you write on it leaves an impression forever.

I think we as kids, learnt more about the Ramayana, Mahabharata and the Gods and Goddesses from the Amar Chitra Kathas than we learnt from our History books. Moreover reading these comics was a fun thing, whereas school text books always felt like a drag. Learning, when the emphasis is not on learning; is the best kind of learning. We didn’t even realise when we learnt and imbibed those values!

We have also read stories like the Snow white and the seven Dwarfs, Alice in Wonderland, Nancy Drew etc. These too have given us childish wonder, a feel of fairyland etc. The power of expression in good words as well as through pictures is a skill that not many people have.

The Sunrays books contain an ocean of goodness. They contain all the human values that we strive to inculcate in our children as well as in ourselves. Do take a dip and taste the goodness!