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  • Writer's pictureCarlos Luis

Book Review: 'Innocence Lost' An Anthology

Anthology: Innocence Lost (Stories of Child Abuse)

Publisher: Gargi Publishers

Compiler: Pulkit Gupta

Editor: Ila Garg

Cover Design: Ammol Karambe

I do not deny that these stories did not disturb me, they did and practically every story I read my heart was broken. I was left to ponder whether this really happens in my own country.

The cover page designed by Ammol Karambe is classically matching the theme and makes you feel for the plight of the many who become prey to these crimes. despite one’s dislike to get into such traps knowingly or unknowingly one gets entangled to it.

Each author has invariably expounded his or her outlook on this theme. The anthology contains a poem and 16 short stories. I do not want to comment on the their style of writing because they are exceptionally doing it well. each in their own style strike a chord in the reader.

Eighteen by Naisargi Bhatt

Naisargi Bhatt is a wondering philosopher, speaking of survival through atrocities of life, betrayal, wooing, confinements. She describes seasons and speaks of rights, making a mention that she has no choices and no identity thus.

Pang of History by Pramit Sarkar

This story is a bang on starter highlighting the psychological damage parents cause on a child’s mind.

The Lost and Found Self-Respect by Aditi Sahu

The author presents the reality in a very subtle manner through this story. She speaks about arranged marriage and its hidden truths. She also narrates parents restlessness. She also speaks about the disgusting childhood of Avantika. what happens to her? You got to read the story …

The White Lily by Supriya Parulekar

I loved her writing style more so the effect that she creates by the words she uses. The very start with poetical sentences which haunt the reader and remind him or her that this is a horror story. the repetition of the word like Monster, keep the reader attuned to her story.

A Cry- Help Me! By Sunanda Bhadra

This story is about Child Marriage which is shamefully prevalent in Indian interior states. I liked her expressions like ‘Since that day, I had died several deaths,’ ‘Devils of our society,’ ‘Greed leads.’

The Lost Dreams by Swathi Shenoy

This story highlights that our gender cannot trample upon our dreams.

Live like a fairy! By Nikita Nepali

Many a times we question whether love really exists and this story brings home that very point that love exists for sure.

The Shadow by Dr. Sunil Kaushal

It begins with a heart touching poem. Though she uses humor and poetical tense she gets across a valid point about rape, child labor and strength of a woman.

The Guinea Pig by Piyush Kaviraj

This is again an eye opening story written explicitly well. Piyush mentions the drastic extension of man to experiment to gain insights on the research humiliating the innocent. A splendid read!

The Unheard Cry by Brinda Tailor

Engineering looks to be the only option sometimes when you want yourself to be accepted in the society. This story highlights that point and reverberates the idea that forcing onto someone what one doesn’t like leads to mental tension. I hope atleast after reading this story people will change their thought and give importance to other subjects as well.

The Loud Silence by Shreya Ganguly

‘Can a prostitute be raped?’ This is a very antithetical interrogative statement in this story. What is more interesting her title itself is antithetical ‘Loud Silence.’ Want to know what she means by it, read it!

Tales from a pit deep down by Vaisakh E Hari

A thought provoking story, reflecting on life that is so mean at times. Vaisakh E Hari is difficult to understand for his complex formation of sentences but his thought is marvelous.

A Tryst with Naaz by Leena Ratti

She gives a different definition to Child Abuse and makes a very inspiring story.

Just a lucky day… or not? by Shikha Kaul

Amazing read no doubt, she makes you anxious and she makes you feel happy. But you have an interesting read.

Lesson Learned by Dr. Lopamudra Maitra

A story highlighting Female infanticide and sex determination. She presents what trauma a woman goes through when she is asked to abort the foetus in her womb.

Left to be estranged by Ummul Fazal Fatima Khan

Parent- Child relationship is the focus of this story. The writer shows the girls plight at what she is going through because of the mental torture she undergoes.

That shade of vermilion by Tanya Shrivastava

This is a realtime story opening up an issue that is very relevant not just in the case of a husband but also a wife and more so in relation to parent and child. Due to one’s obsession with career one forgets one’s family.

Compilation and Editing

Well, some would note that the stories selected do not match the theme. But I would say that Pulkit Gupta in his wisdom has compiled it well. Just imagine the book having only stories that are pessimistically related only to rape and sexual abuse etc. It would be a boring read. But the inclusion of stories that in a way relate to the theme make it an interesting anthology. The editing should have been more polished to increase the credibility of the book.

Bottomline: Want to get yourself out of ignorance, fetch Crumpled Voices 2, Innocence Lost (Stories of Child Abuse).

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