“I have helped over a million young people”, Paro Anand announced on the stage. It was at the Mussoorie Mountain Writers Festival in October last year. I felt she was pompous about her accomplishments. I picked up her book, “Like Smoke’, a collection of 20 short stories about the lives of teenagers. Much to my surprise, all the stories reflected the author’s deep sense of empathy and understanding of the challenges faced by young people.
In the last two weeks alone, five college students have committed suicide and many have gone unreported because the press did not find them sensational enough. As much as we could debate based on which side of the political spectrum one belongs to, in every case it is always a kid who wanted to be heard, to be loved, to be reassured that he or she can overcome the odds.
This book is also for parents who would like to get into the heads of youngsters. The stories in this book will give you clues about how to enagage with your children and students. A person who wants to take his life will always give signals, about his unhappiness, fears, anxieties. Do not push them away, listen to them, don’t impose your morality and make them feel more insecure. Be gentle with young people. Their strong and often indifferent exterior masks a soft gooy molten chocolate waiting to be accepted and understood.
Be kind, well that’s the only choice we have, for precious lives are at stake.
I gifted this book to activist and colleague Veronica Angel. Hope you would continue to smile and laugh just the way you do, for many long years.
#PayItForward #GiftABook 20/100