If you are a fan of Tare Zameen Par, you'll be surprised and shocked to see how much India needs to change even in the post-Tare-Zameen-Par era.
Innocent Wings is a poignant story about a mother's transformation and a five-year-old boy's bravery. The book is categorised as a work of fiction. The story of Rudra and of his mother is a narrative that borders fiction. However, the elements of reality that helps to root this story in the mind of the reader are heavy. This book can be read only with a heavy heart, especially if one has loved a child and held him/her impossibly close to heart.
Innocent Wings is subtitled as "Dyslexia, Childhood, Parenting". The themes that appear in the book are much deeper and multifaceted. The story begins with the starting of Rudra's school day. A normal day for Rudra is comprised of yelling from his mother at home, and teachers at school. He is quite happy though when his little brother is born to his mother. Yet we see clouds of anxiety envelop the mother's mind.
The mother, who is the narrator of the story, is an "invisible fighter" to borrow a phrase from author Kapil Raj. No one is capable of seeing her fight. Her agonies, wounds, and endurance are hidden from the world. She constantly fights for her little one, Rudra. Occasionally, though she is smoothened by the presence of her husband Harish.
The mother realized that Rudra has a learning disability. This was evidenced by his performance at school. She decides to take him to a child psychologist. She searches online and finds an address. She goes out to meet the child psychologist. However, the experience that followed this venture fills her with more pain. After another year, in Grade II, the counsellor at school discovers our Rudra. This was made possible by the intervention of the new class teacher.
From there, after a series of encounters with dedicated and honest professionals working in the field of child psychology and counselling, our little Rudra finds a new world of possibilities. Just like the narrator of the story, readers also have dampened eyes while going through each major shift in the life of Rudi, our little Rudra.
As a mother, the narrator realizes that she is not the only one with a son born with extraordinary gifts. As part of the journey of being a mother, a silent fighter, she understands her own lack of perception. She learns that her own prejudice prevented her from seeing Rudra as a person with high potential. There are moments in his growth when Rudra presents superhuman capacity as a learner, as on the occasion when he was asked to read a chapter. He is a poor reader and the mother knows it. But to her surprise Rudra readers the whole chapter without the slightest error. When she inquires him how he did this, Rudra answers her that he memorised the whole chapter. She could not believe her ears. This was Rudra's gift.
Innocent Wings is a book that does more than just telling a story with its full ark. Author Shilpi provides informative elements in each chapter of the book. We learn that Dyslexia is not just a specific disease or disorder. It may show up in different children in different forms of learning "problems". Their behaviour may appear as problems for a teacher who only things inside the box, who cannot keep an open mind. Indeed, Innocent Wings is a necessary read for teachers as well. Adding its academic value the author has provided six appendices at the end of the book. It includes topics ranging from an interview with the school counsellor Shivani to interview with parents of specially gifted children.
Other topics from the Appendix include: Methodology of Teaching, In Conversation with Educators Across India, Encounter with Radha, and The Views of Parents-those are not ready to accept. Gleaning information from the Appendices, one can clearly see that many characters that appear in the story are not fictional. The story is Rudra is not an imaginary one at all.
A comparative analysis is not possible with Innocent Wings. This is because not many books are written on the subject of Dyslexia that is accessible to the public. Here is a book that has a lucid, easy-to-grasp-narrative style, the tonality of a loving mother, reflecting all the innocence of the little pair of eyes that look at you while holding the book. Needless to say, Kalamos Literary Services, has done a wonderful job publishing this book. The book has a nearly perfect cover, which serves both the purpose of attracting the reader and thereby helping the reader not to miss this jewel of a book.
The MRP of the book is Rs 199. But you can get it at a huge discount from Amazon. Here.
Shilpi Signodia is the author of Hangover, contributing author of Encrypted Letters, and a blogger. She is a trained management-professional. She shines her magic through her motherhood and now through her works of literature throughout the world. Through Innocent Wings, Shilpi has established herself as a leading voice in preserving the innocence of the true gifts of children in a world that is too harsh to judge them based on their shortcomings.
Innocent Wings is a book with a heart of kindness and empathy. I am going to recommend this book to all my teaching colleagues. I would like to recommend this book for both elementary school teacher as well as secondary school teachers. When a reading or writing disability or slowness to grasp is seen, as teachers, we are quick to judge it as the child's lack of capabilities. We forget that it may the sign of something remarkable in them. Tare Zameen Par, the Amir Khan movie released in 2007 changed the way educators treat their children in India. However, even now, in many of the best-known institutions, the reality is murkier. Children who do not show excellence in written examinations at the end of their terms are marked as disabled and good for nothing. It is this attitude that Innocent Wings challenges and attempts to change.
There are some very useful takeaways in this book, for example, it will tell you when and how to analyse the symptoms of dyslexia and other learning issues with your child. I don't want to spoil it here for you. Go through chapter -9 and you'll see it all clearly.
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