Book Reviews - Dear Popples - love letters from an unlikely mother
by Jamuna Rangachari
Love letters from an unlikely mother, Anouradha Bakshi, Undercover Utopia, Pages : 190: Price Rs 125
“I have counted with wonder how many hearts it took to have you sleep peacefully in the little bed that is now yours, and how important people are because it is they who have the most precious gift of all : a heart in the right place,” writes Anouradha Bakshi in one of her letters in the book Dear Popples published by Undercover Utopia.
Even without any embellishments, the story of Popples is a heroic tale of survival.
Most people, including doctors had given up all hope of recovery for Popples, a young child from a highly dysfunctional background, who fell into a boiling cauldron and sustained third degree burns. It is at this point that he entered Anouradha’s life; and formed a bumpy and magical relationship with her. His foray in her life begins a new look at life for Anouradha who chooses to write them down as if she were talking to Popples when he is ready to absorb them. Her introspection, walk down memory lane and insights gained over the years are chronicled in a free flowing string of letter she hopes her ‘Popples’ will read some day. Some letters are soul searching, some a simple sharing of the bond of love, some a social commentary and some sketches of people who have had a deep impact on the author’s life. In a refreshingly unstructured way we get to know Anouradha’s mother, a fiercely independent lady whose deep love for her country made her vow to get married only in free India, her father who engrained the love of her motherland in her even when she was brought up abroad and her own struggle in finding her path and dealing with the unpleasant realities of society. Along the way, her perspective of life, with its warts and all, unfolds.
There is an ethereal feel to the entire exchange and the letters transgress all barriers of time and space by simply stating facts as they are without any attempt to disguise the truth while coating them with understanding and wisdom. Hence, Popples’ alcoholic mother is presented in an empathetic manner with a sincere attempt at making Popples understand her predicament and not harbour ill feelings towards her just as the social reality of India is stated simply with nuggets of hope.
She presents ‘Godji’ to Popples with affection and gently endeavours to make Popples see the larger plan God had for him in bringing him back from the jaws of death.
Is the book a narrative? Is it an inspirational look at life? Is it an ode to a child hero ? Yes, it is all of this but above all, it is a spiritual legacy bequeathed by a mother to her son.
Read it to get a glimpse of how spiritual laws operate in the quagmire of life and to kindle empathy, hope and love in your heart.
www.dearpopples.com [External Link]
www.projectwhy.org [External link]