Macho is in. So, believe many young boys who think that being brash braggarts, poking fun at others, hurting the vulnerable – be they animals or humans, is the only way to proclaim their macho image.
As a result sensitive young boys may feel inadequate, sometimes their very sense of belonging to a group becomes a question mark, and worse still they may even be made to feel like an outcaste.
Gagan is a sensitive boy, who appreciates nature, nurtures wild creatures, abhorrs games and stories of violence, resists fighting and playing rough with the other boys and so it is not surprising that he becomes the butt of many of their jokes, being called names – Sissy, scaredy –cat, baby girl and to add insult to injury even his grandfather joins in the name game and calls him Ekdum Chooha! Only his mother understood him and reassured him that he was indeed, “The loveliest, gentlest one, who always makes me proud.”
But beneath his gentle self lurks a brave heart, one that is able to take on so-called dangers, spooks and ghouls in his stride. So, once when one of the group members cat wanders away into the dark, the others in spite of their bravado and bluster cower in fear of the dark and unknown, it was Gagan who provs that being soft-hearted and gentle is not necessarily an anathema to being courageous.
To many troubled children struggling with their sense of self, this book comes as a great reassurance that it is cool to be just who you are and not worry about conforming to stereotyped images.
Well produced, with great layout, attractive font and eye-catching illustrations the book is a pleasure to browse through.
A much-needed book for children to read, or be read to in school or at home followed by a discussion.