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Book Review: Dancers in the Dark by Ejaz Ahamed

Children love to be in their zone of fantasy and imagination, but they are bogged down by the ruthless realities of the world. No matter what, some children chase their dreams and aspirations with an unmatched determination. Something similar happens in Ejaz Ahamed’s ‘Dancers in the Dark’. The novel is set in somewhere South India, backdropped against the village Kilipur, takes a sneak peek in the lives of fatherless poor emaciated siblings: Kalki and Karthi.

Kalki is a seven-year old dark skinned girl. Well, in South India dark people is a common sight, she captures attention wherever she goes. She is an extreme case of being dark. People make fun of her, sneer at her…and much more. She is dejected by this curse. Karthi, her brother, believes he is responsible for her condition. But their world is different, their mother lives with stigma. In fact, they are so grappled by the strata of the society that is based on caste and its allied diversions that people throw any story to label them, to humiliate them. In short, life is tough for them, and above all Kalki remains disturbed for being a dark kid.

It is funny to observe their witty endeavors to find a fairness cream and medicine that can transform Kalki from dark to white. The storyline has great hustle bustle, the village and cities have hubbub of people for money, fame, and luxuries. The superstar Talaivar is a great example to portray what it means to have dreams and goals in life. He is a constant inspiration throughout the novel for many.

Somehow the duo got air of a company doubling the money in a short span of time. Kalki needs a good amount of sum to visit an able doctor who could get rid of her darkie status. The kids steal their mother’s money and run away to the city…the money is lost…dreams are stranded. Now what? How will they move ahead…and what about the money? The story moves forward, the fearless kids brave odds but didn’t give up on hope. They meet the mysterious Shreyas.

All characters in every role are evidently visible, but it is to be noted the society plays an antagonist’s role in the kids’ life. The author touches upon many social evils that deplete the essence and spirit of life of poor and ostracized. It is a powerful novel with message and good dose of entertainment. Ejaz’s narration is gripping, he didn’t haste the plotline. Rather it chugged ahead with optimum pace.

The story has emotional depth and from time and over it demands the urge for social justice and empathy from readers. The author has skillfully combined a few prevalent themes from our society to present an engrossing read overall.

Buy it from Amazon


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