“The Fortunate Child” is a gripping story about Rohini- a girl from India, besotted with a purpose of “Education for All”. A sense of purpose, she inherits while feeding on her grandmother’s account of her grandfather, who was committed to the cause of “Education for all”.
The story progresses in the early part, clearly emboldening Rohini’s sense of purpose. But, the reader in the latter part is sensitized to the fact that: “having lofty ideals does not always translate to action.” Rohini dreams to be like her grandfather but, it falls apart when unmindful yet factually, she starts mirroring the ills of society that her grandfather so stood against.
This narrative brings along, a deep-rooted prejudice nurtured by Indian society: a once upon a time so-called fluid classification for “Division of Labor”, later exploited as a watertight “Caste System” in the literal sense. Child abuse by the caretakers & gender inequality are other issues highlighted in this book.
Alongside above, the story also brings up the positive changes catching up in the urban and semi urban pockets of India: Girl child education and encouragement, the fraying walls of caste system among third generation in the story & gender equality.
Certain character portrayals are really interesting to note in the story:
Rohini’s tallness, right from her childhood when she questions everything that does not fall within her unadulterated fairness, is baffling! What is heart-rending to note is her ability to make peace with her family, despite enduring violation as a child. Each time she stares at the ceiling her unanswered questions find solace in its highness.
It’s also interesting to note the existence of a strong lady-Damayanti (the grandmother of Rohini), in a truly patriarchal society of her time. Her characterization exudes strength, someone who conducts herself with grace and fearlessness, despite her moments of weakness staring at her in the living form.
Last but not the least: it’s encouraging to note the depiction of Rohini’s husband- Ajit, who is very caring towards Rohini, his family, and every other person he comes across. He does not preach idealism, yet firms up to every right cause. His realism makes the reader fall in love with his character.
To sum up: the book is a simple and unpretentious attempt at “Fiction writing with a purpose.” An interesting revelation of what it takes to commit to a cause. What is also, very interesting to note is the looming paradox of being “fortunate” and “unfortunate” at a given time! This narrative gets more consuming as one reads further, to find out if Rohini remains stuck in that deep pit of diverse limitations, or, her ideals & action synthesize, and how.