Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Book Review #64: Black, Grey & White - "No one is spared from it" By Santosh Avvannavar and Santosh I. Biradar

Title: Black, Grey & White – No one is spared from it
Authors: Santosh Avvannavar, Santosh I. Biradar
Publishers: Hoeffen
Genre: Non-Fiction/Social Awareness
Pages: 90 odd pages
Source: Review Copy by Author

This particular book by the authors speaks about the AIDS and its misconceptions. It particularly creates awareness with the conversational type stories that themed around dealing with AIDS infected people and normal beliefs around it. This book has 5 short stories that deal extensively on this subject. I am impressed with the authors and their research on this subject. They have gone an extra mile to fetch the details that normally wouldn’t come across in a mainstream society.

I liked the title of the book and its tag line. Yes, “No One is spared from it”. The book has passed its message clearly with the stories. We all know, at least in India that, how the people who are infected with AIDS are treated. They are almost treated as dirt. They not only lose their social status, but also, they lose their fighting spirit to begin with. Rejection by the society upon their illness has added additional suffering to their already traumatized life. So, what this book does after all? This book has tried to break those barriers and creates a positive atmosphere and tries to “educate the educated people” to treat the HIV infected people with the same amount of affection and respect as they treat the normal people.

As I said, there are 5 short stories written in this novel. Each story debunks an associated myth of AIDS infected people.

In the very first story, there is a story of Anjali a.k.a Neha who is infected with HIV and tested for positive. A journalist Shahid, who works in a newspaper, receives letters written in blood in the name of Anjali regularly. So, Shahid sets out on a mission to solve this case. He travels to many cities tracing the origin of this letter. Later he finds out that, the person who was writing this letter is killing the innocent children who were born on a particular day. Now, here is the actual stuff that the authors try to break in. The person who was killing those innocent children is an HIV infected person, he believed that, by killing these innocent children that were born on the particular day and offering them as a sacrifice will make his AIDS disease get cured!! This particular practice can be seen among many places even today. Authors tried to educate people here by saying that, offering sacrifice and AIDS are nowhere linked to each other. In fact, what they need is a counselling and few helping hands.

In next story, there is a tale of a little boy Chintu. He was infected with HIV at the time of his birth. The virus got carried into him by their parents who were infected. He was treated by the society like he is an outcaste person. Little chintu was not sure why he was treated in such a way, where there is no fault of his. This particular story is very touching and gives us a reason to not to judge people. It passes on a great lesson on how to treat an HIV patient, so that, they can lead a normal life and can live little longer.

The next story speaks about the exploitation of young girls in various industries. This particular story exposes the insider casting couch kind of story where a budding model was forced into casting couch. The fate of this young girl was ruined by few hungry criminals, which abused her in every possible way. The end is quite heart breaking. The young girl, now infected with HIV positive will start taking revenge against these hungry predators and infected them along with her. This story speaks about how not to use a situation and persons just because you can wield power.

And, there is one more story where a young girl Savita was married to an older person. Her parents didn’t even find a detail about the person with whom their daughter is getting married. Time is very short for Savita, as she was infected by AIDS through her husband. She didn’t scare at the beginning; she went on building positivity around her through counselling and taking timely medicines. This story goes on explaining about how an HIV infected person can actually build a positive life around them. It is inspiring to many who are suffering from HIV.

The final story is of Cain and Abel. This particular story has deviated from the AIDS themed stories. However, this story particularly explains the need for care and affection that parents have to give their children. Abraham being the father of Cain and Abel treats both of his sons in equal way. However, Cain turns out to be a rebel with the influence of Lucifer, the demon. Cain starts to go astray early in his childhood resulting in losing his social status and respect from others. Whereas, Abel the good son, listens every word from this father and gains the trust and respect of the people. This is a simple, yet strong message oriented story. This particular story has been adopted from the Holy Bible.

This book certainly helps to break some taboos that are surrounded with AIDS and its misconception. This book must be kept in every high school, college libraries to teach young kids. I highly recommend this book to be read by everyone. Those who have read already must put a word to their friends and near one’s to spread the awareness.

Note: I received this book from the author in exchange of an honest review.

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