In Bangalore, India, nestled behind a luxury high rises, lies a little bit of heaven. Yet, for most of us, this would not be considered to be heaven at all, but a place where poverty dwells, lives are crushed, and dreams and hope are non existent. And yet…
There are people residing in Heaven. There are young girls with dreams, with hopes. There are their mothers, their Auntys, their fathers who look to each other for affirmation, for things to be better than they were before, for opportunity to come and enfold them with happiness, and if not happiness, then a sense of belonging, of being able to be something, someone that is true to what and who they are.
There are girls who experience the needs of today, wanting education, wanting to be accepted as what they are, be they gay or transsexual, be they straight. They depend on one another, Banu, the artist, Deepa the blind dancer, Joy, the transgender, Padma, a migrant new to Heaven, as well as a cast of others who despite where they live have found glimpses of happiness which they grasp and hold on to. Some are encouraged to pursue their dreams. Janaki Ma’am, the school mistress, wants all students to succeed. She is passionate, dedicated to the road education can lead these children down. She instills in them respect for learning and goes to many lengths to insure they will succeed.
There are the traditional characters as well, one who never uses her own name or other’s but instead refers to them as ..the wife of, or the mother of….. as if a woman has no identity other than that of being a mother or a wife. There are those who value only sons while not seeing the brilliance of their daughters, while there are others who struggle so to fit into the religious mores of the country they inhabit.
And yet, there is hope. Hope that comes from believing in yourself, in seeing yourself in the vision that others have for you, that find their place, not always an easy place for sure, in a country, in a slum, that has given them life. If is a story of friends, relatives, parents, who move with the times, while others stay back, and see with eyes open that their children’s futures lie not in the past, but in a future where all may be equal and educated.
This was a trip down a road beset by poverty and yet, there is so much good, so much light in the path forward that these people will walk. It is that hope and vision which propel this new author’s book into a future that just might be a bit of the real heaven someday.
Thank you to Mathangi Subramanian for writing this book of expectation, to Andrew at Algonquin Books for sending me a copy of this new author’s first effort, and to Algonquin Books for taking a chance and allowing a new voice to be heard.
This book will be published on March 19,2019.
and here’s the author:
Mathangi Subramanian is an award winning Indian author and educator She is a graduate of Brown University and the Teachers College of Columbia University as well as a recipient of a Fullbright and other fellowships. She resides in New Delhi, India with her husband and daughter. This book is her first adult novel.