Friday, 12 January 2018

Carthick's Unfairy Tales - Book Review

As a child I loved fairy tales. As I became an adult I started thinking over those tales. The flaws were apparent. The good people were always fair and beautiful, while the evil ought to be dark and ugly. The sole aim of the heroine's life was to win the heart of the prince. The tales were fatalist and some where even downright sadistic. Do we wish to tell such tales to our children? Certainly not.

Against this backdrop Carthick's Unfairy Tales comes as a bright change. This collection is a retelling of seven tales. To be honest out of the seven I had heard only three that of Cinderella, Pipe Piper and the frog prince. So the rest of the stories were brand new for me.

I really liked the way the author has shaped up the Frog Prince's story. He gives the Princess a spine. She comes across as a strong woman who can make intelligent choices and whose aim is certainly not marrying a man only because he is a prince (read rich and powerful in the modern connotation). I am sure I will be more than happy to tell such a tale to my toddler. Undoubtedly this is the best story in the collection.

These stories are told in unique voices. While the rat's narrative works well in the Cinderella's story, some voices appear inorganic, like a patch work just to sound something different. Also the Pipe Piper's story offers nothing new. Its just the same old story. With Cindrella and the Frog Prince the author had raise expectations. I wish there was a novelty in other stories as well.

What I liked about the book is that the writing is clean, the editing is superb. The author succeeds in maintaining a pace. The stories are of appropriate length. They are neither too short nor too long to lose attention span of the reader.

Carthick's Unfairy Tales is a unique book and you should not miss it.

Tuesday, 9 January 2018

Some Stories

I am glad that I came across her writings. 
M S Manaswi enchants you with her tales.

Hundred Flames of Injustice

 “Mama, Sarang got a second serving of the ice-cream and when I and Rashmi went to ask for it, we were told that the ice-cream is over. This is unfair.” Hearing this from my mouth, my aunt cuddled me and said, “Don't worry my child I will get you some more ice-cream when I go to the market in the evening.” I was just five year old then and the flame of justice had kindled in me.

Mama, aunt Ruhi sends Sarang to an English medium school because he is a boy and she sends Rashmi to a Marathi medium school because she is a girl. This is wrong.” No moment had I uttered these lines as a fifth grade student, my aunt thundered. “You shouldn't poke your nose when adults are speaking.”
But what is wrong with what I am saying.” I asked. At this moment my mother pulled me a little aside and asked me to keep quiet.

My aunt then turned her words towards my docile mother. “It is all because of you that he was become so arrogant. Look at the way he is speaking. See our children, they never back answer the adults. You have given him too much of liberties and spoilt him.” My words had hit my aunt at the place where it hurt the most.

I never understood what was wrong with what I said. But slowly people had started branding me as an arrogant, argumentative boy who back answered adults.

That day when the teacher had distributed assessed answer sheets of science, I noticed that me as well as my friend had written exactly the same answer for a particular question. But while the teacher had assigned me only four out of five, my friend had scored five on five. I took both the answer sheets to the teacher and brought it to her notice, very humbly, very politely. Still that enraged the teacher, and my reputation of being arrogant and argumentative travelled beyond my family up to my school.

I could never tolerate injustice. My blood would boil and I would raise my voice against it. I was right, but my age wasn't. “When elders commit mistake, we don't call it mistake.” My mother had told me once. But I simply could not understand the logic behind it. “Isn't law the same for everyone? How can the same act not be a mistake merely because the person doing it is an adult.” My mother had no answers to my logic.

My life was turning miserable. On one hand I couldn't handle injustice and on another when I protested against it, I was called arrogant.

Then one day I got a loving teacher as my class teacher. Her name was Mrs. Apte. She loved me like her own son. Rather she loved all children like her own. She understood my predicament. One day she told me. “Logic and reasoning are not everybody's cup of tea. You are blessed with it. Put it to better use. I am sure you will be a firebrand lawyer one day.” Until then I wanted to be a doctor. But those words of Mrs. Apte ignited another flame in me. I had never thought that these qualities in me which were branded as bad by others were in fact skills.

I took up law and my life changed 360 degrees. I was appreciated for my keen acumen. My argumentative nature was now termed as my good reasoning skills. I topped the examinations and won all the debate and moot court competitions. My name started appearing in the newspapers. Now all those detractors, including my relatives and school teachers started appreciating me for my skills. #AhundredLittleFlames made me into the person who stands for justice and equality.