Told in an inimitable style, it is a tale of acceptance, love and indeed, a beautiful mind. Read it because it has been well researched and told. You just wish it was a lot shorter and had a more bolder and meaningful ending.
Author: TGC Prasad
Publisher: Ebury Press / Randon House India
Mallika, an eighteen year old, is a very intelligent but autistic girl, who remembers everything a person tells or she reads in books or the Internet including the trivia. She stores all the collected information in folders and sub-folders in her computer. She organizes the information with proper cross-reference and dates. She can memorize things in menu cards and remember details in the telephone directories. Mallika also likes solving puzzles. She attends class in a special-school where her friend Swati, another special girl gives her company.
Mallika lives in a strangely whimsical yet ordered world of her own. When her mother breaks the news to her that her beloved elder brother Ananth is going to get married, her fragile world collapses. How will she deal with a stranger in her home and life? The author displays great research in getting into the mind of Mallika – narrating her insecurities, her instincts, her fears and her genuine confusion at the helm of things. There are few really touching scenes – like the one in which she boards a bus in order to get away from the mess of being in the company of a stranger (Ananth’s fiancée) and finds herself saved by a nun. Or the one in which she finally accepts the new member in her family.
The book makes a pertinent point about how autistic people need social acceptance and a right to lead a life of dignity; if handled with care, love and patience. Where it falters slightly is the final act – where it goes well in establishing the world of Mallika but the climax is just too simplistic and it appears that the author did not wanted to take the difficult path to end this interesting story. The whole point of accepting a child with special ability by sacrificing your own financial and emotional security is plain rubbish and could have been dealt with more maturity.
Length has always been a problem with Prasad’s books and this one is no exception. There are just too many self-referencing and quizzical portions which are fine to start with in an order to explain the world from Mallika’s point of view but when it keeps on going on an infinite loop, it is distracting and adds very little to the flow of the story in totality.