Like a conductor, conducting a symphony orchestra, Anand seems to wave her baton in the air, conjuring up stories that although, grim, are though-provoking and gut-wrenching, stories that lurk in every corner of our land, but few dare to articulate.
Story after story brings forth the trauma and pain of children who have suffered for no fault of their own - by the cruel hands of intolerance, injustice, prejudices, sedition and social ills.
In Wild Child, she talks about young Bela who was shifty-eyed, smelly, and just plain difficult. Shunned by one and all, she was also the bane of the teachers. Where her behaviour stemmed from, no one cared to find out. Until, on that one dramatic occasion, the truth was revealed to the chagrin and deep sense of guilt felt by one and all.
In a similar vein is the predilection of Fatima, in ‘They Called her ‘FATS’, another story of how important it is to reach below the self-imposed withdrawal by a hurting child. A child who has donned an armour of insolence as a shield against the jibes and taunts of others penetrating the soft and injured inner core.
What is the remedy? How does one help such children? Or, more important how does one prevent young and vulnerable kids; innocent kids, who should have been laughing and playing, but instead have become hapless victims at the hands of politics, injustice, prejudices and intolerance - seems to be the questions that the writer is asking us to mull over.
A must read at home and at school.