Title : Faces In The Water
Author : Ranjit Lal
Publisher : Puffin
ISBN : 978-0-143-33106-3
I came to know about this book when it was among the shortlisted books in the Children's section, for the Vodafone Crossword Book Awards 2010 and then this book was adjudged the best in that category. The other competitors in the same category being :
Mr. Oliver's Diary by Ruskin Bond (reviewed here)
At Least A Fish by Anushka Ravishankar (reviewed here)
The Fang of Summoning by Giti Chandra
Koni - The Story of a Champion by Moti Nandy (reviewed here)
Sahyadri Adventure : Anirudh Dream by Deepak Dalal
Sahyadri Adventure : Koleshwar's Secret by Deepak Dalal
Needless to say, I really wanted to read it and the excerpts were very promising too.
The book addresses one of the shameful ills that is crippling our Indian society - the preference for male child and the fanaticism carried forward to extremely inhumane acts like female infanticide.
The very prosperous and affluent Diwanchand family is proud of having only sons in their lineage and they owe this special honour to the magical water from the well which is located near their ancestral house. The 15-year old son of this family Gurmeet once gets to spend a few days in the that house and wants to explore the area on his own especially the very famous well. But what does he see in the well water, his own reflection, no. There are three faces staring back at him from the well water - and those three faces belong to three girls. Then begins the journey of unraveling the mystery behind those faces and what do they have to do with the water being magical which blesses the family with only sons progeny. Are Gurmi and the girls together able to reach the depth of the mystery and do they get to influence the attitude of their male child obsessed parents?
Overall a fast paced, fun filled book which manages to address a serious topic in a lighter tone. Though an adult topic, it is handled in a manner which makes it appropriate for young adults too and actually this is a good strategy because the young adults of today are potential responsible citizens of tomorrow. So by educating them now, there is high probability that such diseases could eventually be eradicated from our society for good. The author has tried to spice the story up by including sufficient funny incidents and moments in the narrative and the magic of cyber world and connectivity are used as aids to bring home the point to the new tech savy generation. There is novelty in the way the inexistent world becomes alive with just connecting a few wires but slowly the same becomes repetitive and loses its charm. I found myself skipping those portions on a couple of occasions because they were hardly moving the story forward, rather they were mere diversions on the otherwise smoothly flowing narrative. These are the portions where the book tends to lose its objective. But otherwise a well written piece, with right amount of sensitivity and emotions that such a topic deserves.
I just hope the attempts of such books start showing some results so that we get to live in a free society which has no shameful acts to hide and no guilt to overcome.