55er: Agony


The law could not help her.
Ethics were mute spectators.
Intellectuals debated her fate.

And she suffered silently, incapable of expressing herself.
No-one, but no one understood what she was going through; what was going through her.

How could she tell them that Euthanasia or not, all she wanted was release from this endless misery?

Book Review: Children of a Better God by Susmita Bagchi


Children of a Better God is a novel by Oriya writer Susmita Bagchi. It was written originally in Oriya (Deba Shishu) and has been translated into other languages, including English.

This is one novel which first by-passes the brain and proceeds straight to the heart. However, it eventually asks several questions of the reader.

The story is about Anupurba, who has just returned from the US with her husband and two sons. Anupurba was an art teacher in the US, but she doesn't find any suitable job for herself back in Bangalore. She ends up volunteering to teach art at Asha Jyothi, a school for spastic children.

This experience turns out to be a life-changing one for Purba. The story takes the reader through Purba's journey, which begins with the realization that she had very wrong notions about cerebral palsy. Her initial apprehensions are found to be unfounded. She ends up being emotionally attached and also succeeds in making a difference, even guiding the children to an art exhibition.

Children of a Better God is more than a story. It attempts to give people a glimpse into the lives of children who suffer from cerebral palsy, to remove misconceptions, to answer several questions, to pose others.
  • Spastic children may have physical deformities, but they are often shunned by society because of misgivings.
  • Dealing with children requires lot of patience, dealing with spastic children even more so. For example, the book has one character, Uma, who has almost no legs, has a very bad temper. So, how does one deal with such children? Ignore their excesses? Or strike a balance by being strict with them?
  • What such children lack in anatomy, they make up for in something else. They are brilliant in art or poetry or academics - something or the other. By no means are they to be dismissed.
  • What is the future for spastic children? What happens when they are at the threshold of adulthood? Do they crave for romantic and sexual fulfillment?

Above all, the book reinforces the point that has been made about special children time and again: They do not need your sympathy. It is the understanding and support that they seek from this society.

I would definitely recommend this book. Apart from educating me about spastic children, it has sent me on a soul-searching mission. It has also increased my respect for the countless nameless teachers, volunteers, ayahs and other staff who work selflessly and tirelessly to give hope to special children.

Landmark


I just completed 1000 days serving as the President of FakesLand. And Phew! What a busy time it has been. I've been up to my neck in work. All the time. It isn't easy running a nation of 50 million people, is it?

What's that snicker for? You don't believe me, do you? Ok, here's my list of achievements
  • I completed 1000 days in office. You have no idea how big an achievement that is in itself.
  • I presided over 100 celebrations (completion of 100 days, completion of 200 days, acquittal in a case of corruption, onset of monsoon, my birthday, departure of monsoon, castration of a donkey, ... and so on and so forth)
  • I conducted roughly 200 bandh's in protest against everything from the big bang to solar flares to my neighbor's cat peeing on the road-side at the exact spot where my dog is supposed to pee. “Wait a minute”, I hear you say. “If you were ruling, then who were the protests against”, you ask? Well, I don't consider it necessary to answer that question.
  • I set the world record for the number, magnitude and frequency of disruptions caused to the lives of the general public in my capital city. Considering the immense competition in this field, and the unquestionable talent and capability of my counterparts from other nations in this respect, I hold this accomplishment of mine in highest regard.

There – does that suffice? Now wipe that smirk off your face and scoot. I have business to attend to. I am planning to hold a massive rally to commemorate the 100th case of corruption registered against me. So, if you will be so kind as to excuse me …

Books: Good. TV: Bad

Reading is generally considered a good hobby. Watching TV, on the other hand, is supposed to be a waste of time. Ok, who am I kidding with this third person narration? I've been guilty of making this distinction myself. But now that I think of it, what is the basis?

Is it because TV has “objectionable content”? But then, so do books. Remember, books don't go through a censorship process, are more easily accessible and are more “private” compared TV viewing. So books are guiltier than TV of corrupting minds with such content.

Is it because TV is not good for one's eyesight? But books don't score very well on that count either (especially if you are like me – reading in moving vehicles, in less-then-ideal lighting conditions … and .. you get the point).

Is it because TV “distracts” people, particularly children? Books do too, don't they? I remember reading Alfred Hitchcock's “Three Investigators” series even during exam season in my pre-high school days.

So, why the prejudice against TV?

I have come to the conclusion that TV can be not only an entertainer, it can also be a great quencher of the thirst for knowledge. It can be as effective a companion for the inquisitive soul as books. It is all a matter of what one chooses to watch; just as it is a matter of what one opts to read.

55er: Enemy


The enemy soldier lay lifeless in his trench.
He bent over the body, systematically looking for belongings.
He found a letter in the shirt pocket.

On reading it, he broke down, wondering about futility of war; of sacrifice for reasons unbeknownst.
For, the letter was from the deceased's wife, with a photo of their newborn.

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Disclaimer: This is my personal blog. All the views and opinions expressed on this blog are entirely my own and do not reflect the views of my employer, organization, relatives, friends, acquaintances or any other person/entity.