Hello Umang Tiwari.
When my feisty, multi-linguist, revolutionary aunt, Laxmi Krishnan, who is a retired English teacher and who at seventy can do the half-split like a teenager, told me about 16-year old Umang, I was both touched and joyful. Umang has had severe learning difficulties since he was a child. He finds it effortful to do sums, write sentences correctly, and to remember names, and yet when my aunt showed him my book (Kyo and Obi), and started telling him about its making and production, he asked for my address, so that he can write me a letter. He said, in Hindi, “This is very creative, please give me her address. I will write to her”.
Lucky Aunty (Laxmi Krishnan) is going to read Kyo and Obi to him and will try and explain its message about self-acceptance—a slight challenge since Umang speaks Hindi. That said, he is trying to learn English, and makes brave attempts at it. Hope that reading Kyo and Obi will be a fun attempt, Umang.
Umang’s condition was diagnosed only a year back, and he continues to go through the rigours of formal education that is challenging to his intellect and demeaning to his self-esteem. The Indian Right to Education Act had a no-detention policy that only recently got revoked.
An isolated teenage boy, who has faced neglect and ridicule for his intellectual incapacity, Umang might be inspired (or so I hope) by Obi’s journey of self-transformation: A journey in which an undeveloped identity matures into an accepting sense of self.
Like Obi who found a friend, his only friend in Kyo, and could go through the process of self-transformation because of Kyo’s patient and loving presence, Umang too has a compassionate friend—one among his few—in 70-year old Lucky Aunty.
That’s all it takes. Thank you Lucky Aunty.
Good luck Umang. I look forward to your letter.