Fighting darkness at 13 

A student of grade IX, Meridian School, Banjara Hills, Saira flawlessly carves stories and characters while keeping in mind the larger theme she wants to talk about.
Butterfly book cover.
Butterfly book cover.

HYDERABAD: Saira Khaishagi’s love for literature bloomed very early in life. She wrote ‘Butterfly’ when she was only ten years old. At a very young age, Saira worked as an Assistant Director for Ad films, contributed to screenwriting, showed a keen interest in coding, and weaved her experiences into beautiful stories. She has also been selected and participated as the youngest writer of the South Indian Winter Writer’s Meet (2021). 

A student of grade IX, Meridian School, Banjara Hills, Saira flawlessly carves stories and characters while keeping in mind the larger theme she wants to talk about. She started reading books at the age of seven. On being asked how she developed the habit, she said, “My dad Dr MK Khaishagi, loves reading books. There are more books than clothes at home. Mom Rubina Parveen writes stories and she too, is an author. Hence, my environment at home and also at school fostered this habit of reading.” 

Having seen children of her age who were struggling with complex feelings brought about by their parent’s divorce and separation, Saira decided to write about dealing with the issue from their perspective. She talks about some of the signs that a child in that situation might be able to see to figure out what exactly is happening. “The child may think that whatever is happening is not real; the ‘conversations’ are artificial and not cordial or heartfelt anymore, which also changes day by day. The entire family is going through stress and pressure, parents get irritated with their children unnecessarily and in rare situations, even manhandle or lose their temper with them.” 

“At this point, the child would obviously feel anxious and depressed. There are two ways of handling this situation, positively and negatively. One way is accepting and giving parents their freedom. The other, negative thing would be going into depression, not having daily meals at a proper time or ruining their appetite, feeling insecure all the time and not letting the parents separate, this is certainly a hard choice to let happen but even if we see from a parent’s view it is a difficult decision to make,” she added. 

She suggested that parents should ensure that they discuss the situation with their children, and have meaningful conversations with them. With great maturity, Saira also reflected on the dilemma children face at this point, whether to blame their parents or support them for choosing their individual independence. “Everyone has their own freedom. I mentioned in my novel that ‘two feet can’t fit in one shoe’ and a child should understand this; freeing their parent and self,” she said. 

Saira’s favourite authors are Roald Dahl, Jeff Kinney and Ruskin Bond. She loves to read fiction. On being asked what advice she would like to give to children of her age going through difficulties, she said, “Generally, whenever we get a problem, we become completely clueless and enter a vicious circle. If we stop and think out-of-the-box, we can find a way out of it. Take the lesson from the issue, move forward and live the rest of our lives gaily.”

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