Published By: Scholastic
Author: Swati Sengupta
Year of Publication: 2015
The book opens with the question of ‘Gender’, revealing how boys are capable of digesting spices while girls should stick to sweeter food.
The story is a well conceptualised plot which allows young readers to ponder upon the terms ‘religion, caste, colour, sex, gender and status’.
Oli and Champa are best friends, play football and are dark skinned, who break stereotypes and are examples of two extremes which merge to become one grey.
What are concerns in the book are stereotypes which have been kept as examples and the family of Oli has been shown as a progressive one to understand what it should be in the real world.
The usage of terms like ‘rape’, ‘lust’, ‘brothel’, ‘blood stains’ etc. are strong and scary for a child in middle school to know.
Though football is a great trope, but it could have been any activity.
I felt the ending was very abrupt, there should have been a chapter more, describing Champa’s mother’s view as well. Though Epilogue sums up for the efforts and risks taken by the two young girls.
Is it the love for a game or the need for equal rights which make the narrative engaging? Read and find!
The author writes how her own experiences led to creation of a story where she was looking to emphasise on the need of ‘equality’ and to provide children an environment devoid of differences based on gender, colour, caste or religion.