#BookReview – T21 in Downs Lane by Utpal Kant Mishra
Available in: Paperback and E-book Format
Aashima is a Researcher- Journalist assigned to interview Jay Siddhartha Roy, a young Social Media sensation.
Jay is a celebrity on all Social Media thanks to the millions of views his You Tube videos garner and due to his other achievements, the latest one being graduating. Jay also suffers from Downs Syndrome. T is for Trisomy and 21 is for that one Extra Chromosome, the cause for Downs Syndrome.
What starts of as basic curiosity on Aashima’s side turns to interest when she meets and starts talking to Jay. Jay who is warm, compassionate and has a great sense of humour. Jay who is fighting all odds, mental, physical and psychological, and wants to do full justice to his life with limitations.
As they start talking and Aashima gets to know Jay and his mother Ayesha even better, Jay shares his late father, Siddhartha’s, diary with Aashima. The diary starts with Siddhartha and Ayesha, Jay’s parents, finding out that they are expecting a baby.
Joy soon turns to turmoil when they find out that the baby is not okay and is likely to suffer from Downs Syndrome. Despite this shocking revelation they decide against aborting the foetus and go ahead with the pregnancy and Jay is born.
What happens to Jay? What does life teach him? What does he achieve after graduating? Read T21 in Downs Lane by Utpal Kant Mishra to find out.
Firstly, an eye catching cover. More importantly a unique plot that is treated differently, forming a story that touches your heart and leaves you misty eyed and with more respect for the Jay and others who are born and live with T21.
What I loved most was the narration. The simple words conjure up images that unravel the story, like a movie playing in front of your eyes. Your heart goes out to Ayesha and Siddhartha as their moment of joy at finding out that they are expecting their first child, at a late stage in life, turns to turmoil, when they are told that their to be born child is not ‘normal’. Their helpless and confused dash to different doctors and hospitals was the part that moved me and brought tears to my eyes.
Jay’s stoic acceptance, his hidden grief at being seen and treated differently and his poignant questions hold a mirror to society and will make us question our views and behaviour towards the differently abled.
Author Utpal Kant Mishra wraps his story in the warmth of compassion, and the reader feels it. He has been brave enough to take a subject, or should I say a medical condition, either ignored or used to invoke reactions like pity and ridicule and written a book that presents it in a different light. A story that makes you think and stays with you long long after you’ve finished reading the book.
One drawback, the very average language used and too many details mentioned. Some crisp editing and proof-reading would have made the book an even better read.
**** 4 Stars to T21 in Downs Lane by Utpal Kant Mishra
My rating chart;
*Use it as a doorstop.
**Read it if you have nothing better to do.
***You may like it if you like this particular genre.
*****What! You haven’t read it YET?!