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Chronicles of Nidhi’s adventures

‘Nidhi’s Wonder Years’, a children’s fiction penned by Meenu Jose, assistant professor of English, holds a mirror to society and calls out its double standards

Published: 07th November 2019 06:47 AM  |   Last Updated: 07th November 2019 06:47 AM   |  A+A-

Express News Service

KOCHI:  When 10-year-old Nidhi and her friends meet their coach and announce that they wanted to form a football team for girls in the school, the coach is flabbergasted. The whistle in his mouth drops down and it takes a minute to collect himself. When one cheers for a boys’ team, isn’t one naturally inclined to be in the ground and playing the game? And that is what Nidhi tells her coach, of forming a football team for girls in their school.

Pics: Vincent Pulickal

She asks all the difficult questions, and questions the society and its patronising ways. She thinks, questions and changes her lifestyle and brings change in the school and society. Nidhi, the protagonist in ‘Nidhi’s Wonder Years’, a children’s fiction penned by Meenu Jose holds a mirror to society and calls out its double standards as she views it through her innocent eyes. 

The book has been published by the Kerala State Institute of Children’s Literature. The book starts with how Nidhi has to adjust to a new school, the initial trepidation one goes through as a fresher and how she understands that her fears were unfounded. The ten short stories which chronicle Nidhi’s life makes for a good read for children as each story is peppered with motifs and themes that children can easily relate with. The many happenings in Nidhi’s life during her one academic year are featured. 

The need to preserve the environment;  to share and care; tackling bullies the smart way; the need to venture outdoors instead of limiting one to mobile phones and co-existing with other animals all figure as the themes in the book. “At first I planned them as short stories. But soon the character Nidhi started to become prominent. And that is how I decided to string together the stories around her life,” says Meenu, assistant professor, Department of English, Mar Ivanios College, Thiruvananthapuram. 

The character has been modelled on Meenu’s 6-year-old daughter. Nidhi’s growth as a person can also be seen in each chapter. “Children can relate easily and I think these are aspects they need to think about. So instead of giving lectures to them or creating workshops to instill the ideas of sustainability, gender neutrality, caring for the environment and other living creatures, if a character talks to them, then they can understand well. Most children’s books are light reads. I wanted to make my little readers think as they read,” says Meenu, . Meenu hopes to be back soon with yet another set of adventures of Nidhi.



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