If you have searched for engaging, inspiring products to educate young children about South Asian cultures, languages, and history, I think you will find that our products are much needed in the marketplace.

When I was pregnant with my son, Ahilan, my husband and I were living in Bangalore, India. We spent my first 2 trimesters searching the subcontinent for cultural educational products for our son. When we could step away from our work, we traveled to cities large and small, and would peek into stores and ask locals about children’s products. But after all those months, we ended up with nothing but a suitcase full of low quality dubbed animated DVDs and some books, most of which - years later - still remain festering in the aforementioned suitcase.

Back in the U.S., as I watched my son develop, I observed that he wasn't just learning from the objects in his environment - he was becoming his environment. He was forming an intense, personal relationship with all the sights, sounds, smells, books, and objects in his small world. I thought about his relationship to my south Asian heritage. By the age of 2, he knew his utthappam from his dosa, and delighted when I read Go, Dog, Go in my native Telugu. But nothing in our home could compete with his true love: a Leap Frog Alphabet Pal that he would spend his days (and nights) with. This green, wide-eyed millipede (or "no-no-na" in Ahilan-speak) singlehandedly taught him his ABC's. For months on end he would peer at cereal boxes, books, and posters, and squeal when he recognized the letter "L" - which he had arbitrarily coronated as his favorite letter. If only I could get him to be so excited about the Telugu letter "ka"!

But how could he relate to the letter "ka" when he had never even seen what it looks like? And there, I thought, lies the fallacy of modern cultural education. We cannot expect our children to internalize and incorporate culture into their lives if they are not exposed to the elements of culture on a regular basis. We cannot expect them to sit through a 1-hour-long prayer ceremony, or plop them in front of a Ramayana DVD, and tell them that this is our culture and that they must appreciate it. It's not presented to them in a way that they can relate to or internalize.

So I decided to scale back my legal practice and create a line of products to bring elements of the South Asian culture into the home through fun and child-accessible mediums - products with which busy families can have fun and learn from together, and which can help children to revere our great heritage on their own terms. My vision is to have the South Asian culture survive [and flourish] in fantastical childhood memories. I believe this is the most powerful legacy we can leave with our children. I hope you agree.

Stay tuned for more great products from gnaana. We hope you and your children will grow with us.