Sunday, November 27, 2011

Children of a Better God

Children of a Better God
By Susmita Bagchi

I read this book several months ago, but am uploading the review today.

What is our first impulsive reaction when you see a child afflicted with cerebral palsy? Unless we are aware, we tend to think that the child would also be having a low IQ and would be unable to learn and find a place in society. Nothing can be farther than the truth. These children are perfectly normal mentally, even as they may be physically disabled.

The author, Susmita Bagchi, penned this book to make us more aware of the issues faced by children afflicted by cerebral palsy. She spent time volunteering at the Spastics Society of Karnataka and was touched by the grit, determination and courage of the students and their caretakers. While the characters and some events in this book have been fictionalized there is nothing fictional about the issues, the struggles, the disappointments and dreams of these children and those who take care of them.

The main character in this book is Anupurba who is forced to return to India from the USA, owing to her husband’s transfer. In the USA, she was an art teacher and is now finding time hanging heavily on her hands.. She runs into a university friend and is introduced to Asha Jyoti, a school for children afflicted with cerebral palsy. Overcoming her initial fears, she volunteers as an art teacher. While she teaches the children to mix paint and obtain various shades in their paintings, it is she who learns a valuable lesson of how never to quit in the face of adversity.

While the language of this book is simple, it packs a powerful punch. Some events even made me cry. However, in addition to dealing with how these children are bravely facing life, the book also covers personal issues which some of the teachers are dealing with. This could have been avoided as it detracts from the main theme.

A big bonus is that it contains photographs of the drawings of the children of the Spastics Society of Karnataka. These drawings are beautiful and detailed; I only wish they were depicted in colour. They radiate joy and happiness; you can see flowers, smiling faces, a man sailing up with a bunch of balloons. Courage, faith and optimism shines through every page of this book.

I would recommend reading this book. It teaches you: Gratitude and how to face life cheerfully, even when there are hurdles in your path.

You can learn more about the Spastics Society of Karnataka by visiting their website

1 comment:

worrywarrior said...

This book sounds really interesting - I'll have to pick up a copy. You're right that often we have judgements about people (despite our best intentions), particularly those who live a different life to us, or who have to live with a particular ailment. Thanks for the review :)