The feline child was sleepy. He had been napping all morning and all afternoon. His paws were in the air, his belly proud and chubby. When evening beckoned, they tried to wake him up with the sinful odour of fish. He didn’t even sniff. They brought milk under his nose. He didn’t bat an eyelid. As he snored away to glory, everybody wondered if he would ever wake up and go outside for his long stroll. Then the chicken broth woke him up.
The little girl was not happy. It was too dark outside. She did not understand why the people were being so mean to her old grandmother. “All she did is feed the dogs and love them,” she told her mother. Her mother wished she had a good response. After a while, she replied: Sometimes people can’t stand it when others help the helpless. The child asked why. “Because they secretly hate themselves for being such selfish a**holes.” The little girl didn’t understand. In her world, everybody was supposed to be good and support the good.
She felt herself breathe for the first time in ages. The mountain air seemed to bring back her mental and physical health. The absence of car horns honking and massive malls had an effect on her. Even the birds could be heard as they sang over her head. As the snowcapped mountains glistened in the sunlight, she felt herself smile. It was as if hope had never gone.
She hopped along with her mother and aunt. The older females were busy looking at sarees for her cousin’s upcoming wedding. The little girl was bored. This was the third shop they had entered that day. “Ma, I want to go home,” she whined. Her mother said they would be done soon. As they looked at sari after sari and scrutinised prints and borders, she decided to inspect. Her curiosity found a set of small stairs leading to the floor above. There she spotted a pink sari with pretty blue flowers which she wanted immediately. Ma said no. “You don’t even wear sarees!” But the aunt understood. The child never complained again, as she hugged her new belonging tightly and the adults continued being choosy.
He left her without a word. It was just a sudden snap of all ties that left her lost. She held her phone and stared for hours. She almost dialed his number, but stopped herself when she remembered that he belonged to somebody else. She waited for that call. That call where he’d say he had been wrong. That call where he’d say he wanted things back to the ways of the past. Her hands hurt from holding the phone. Her mind ached from thinking and hoping. The call never came.
Another book review
Originally posted on Come Alive!:
- Reviewer: Ambica Gulati
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Another review of my book
Originally posted on c r i m s o n s h a d o w s :
Book: What Would I Tell Her @ 13
Author: Sudesna Ghosh
Number of pages: 190
Price: Rs. 250
What Would I Tell Her @ 13 by Sudesna Ghosh is dedicated to the new Indian teenage girl, her parents and anybody else trying to survive this phase. Featuring essays by successful women from diverse walks of life, this book is a compilation of stories, emotions and memories along the following themes:
- Discovering your voice
- Friendships and cliques
- Tackling body and weight issues
- Role models
- Child sexual abuse
Ghosh writes a beautiful introduction to the book, supplementing it with ample research from myriad sources and concluding with a poem that she says, “goes best with thirteen.” An apt choice, I thought.
In the subsequent chapters, she introduces each of the above-mentioned themes ( relevant and well chosen), leading in to the essays, which are laden with personal anecdotes…
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