Another book review
Another review of my book
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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The three friends had a competition. Who could do the most skips without stopping? Arun could do 40 and Debolina skipped 35 times before the rope got stuck under her foot. Giri had been able to skip only 10 times before huffing and puffing to a stop.
“Giri! You are not able to skip or jump high these days. What is wrong?” His friends were worried. Mummy was outside. She watched them. “Giri has been eating too many sweets. His health is suffering,” she thought.
Giri knew what was wrong. He knew that he was having too much cake. In fact, he was eating too much of anything that he made in the kitchen. Last week, he had made three peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Papa was busy in the other room, so Giri ate his sandwich too.
That evening, Mummy said, “Giri, you are not able to run and play like before. You need to exercise and eat healthier meals.” “From tomorrow, you will not make any food or cake again since you eat everybody’s share.”
Giri started crying. But Mummy was right. He could feel that his t-shirt was tighter than before. He had never stopped at just 10 skips. The other day in school, he had stopped chasing Arun because he could not breathe properly. Giri was in trouble.
The next few days, Giri listened to his mother. He ate whatever she cooked for him. But he missed cakes, sandwiches and pizza. So he went for a walk. “I’ve been good for four days. Now I can give myself a treat,” he decided.
There was a small shop right outside the gate. It sold pastries and pizza. There were sweet biscuits too. Giri’s parents visited the shop only when guests came without warning. So Giri knew that the pizza at Sweet Jar tasted almost as good as his own. He knew that the pastries were too sweet but better than having no pastry at all. So, Giri went in and bought a pastry and a pizza with his pocket money. He stood inside the shop and ate his treats, hoping that nobody would tell his parents about his visit.
When Giri reached home, nobody knew. He was happy.
That Sunday, Debolina said she would come visit with her new books. Giri could not bake or make anything for her this time. “Mummy, can you make something nice for her?” Mummy said that she would make lunch for them. “No dessert?” Giri asked, disappointed. Mummy said they could have mangoes.
Just before Debolina came, Giri said that he would take a walk. “Walking is good exercise,” said his father. Giri went outside the gate again. He had just enough money to buy two pastries for his friend. “Maybe I could have one myself…” Giri wondered. “Mummy will be angry,” he thought. He bought two pastries. One was put in a box. The other one he ate. As he was finishing his pastry, Debolina passed by the store. She saw him and looked shocked. “Giri! You just ate something sweet. Aunty will be so angry.” Giri felt bad. He followed Debolina home.
As his mother opened the door for them, he blurted out, “I ate a pastry at the Sweet Jar.” He expected his parents to scold him, but they laughed. “One pastry is nothing to feel bad about, Giri.” We only wanted you to be careful about your health.” Debolina giggled. “Yes. Eat cake but not the whole cake,” she added. Now Giri laughed too. Somehow, eating that one pastry had made him feel much better than those times when he had eaten the whole cake or too many sandwiches.
That day, Debolina, Giri and his mother baked a cake. Everybody had a piece.
First published in TeleKids (An ABP Group publication)
He tried his best. She realised they were almost back in that old place. Still, something stood between them and their love for each other. Rather, somebody was the problem. He said the past was dead but she didn’t think that could deny its existence. Her friends told her that going back to an ex was like re-reading an old book. “It always has the same story and the same ending,” they warned. She believed them. Her mind said no, as her heart stayed addicted.