Book Review: Crumpled Voices 2: Innocence Lost, Compiled by Pulkit Gupta, Edited by Ila Garg

Title: Crumpled Voices: Innocence Lostcrumpled

Publisher: Gargi Publishers

Compiled by: Pulkit Gupta; Edited by Ila Garg

ISBN: 9789384382100

‘Crumpled Voices’ – 2 Innocence Lost is the second compilation of stories revolving around child abuse, which is yet another shade of suffering. One more time, Gargi Publishers brings together seventeen authors to raise voice against a heinous crime – Child Abuse.

It is not an unknown shade of suffering but sadly, very few are adequately aware of the mis-happenings. Young minds are so fragile and so timid that many times, the crime goes almost unnoticed only to leave behind the irrevocable scars.

Pulkit Gupta – the compiler; has once again put in an untiring effort to bring out the best from what is available. Leave behind the years of experience either in writing industry or medical industry or any other related realm; he simply fetches the crime quotient in the selected stories and highlights how these pearls have their innocence lost.

Shades of suffering; as they term is, carry various tones – some might be dark while some might seem to be lighter but their reflection is very strong and piercing. Join me as I try to take dig into what respective authors have promised in their author introductions vis-à-vis their contributions.

  1. Eighteen by Naisargi Bhatt

The author believes that writing gives her pleasure of creation and there exists a creator in everyone’s life and writing is wonderful way to manifest the creator.

The poem penned by her further expands her horizons as shared in her introduction. In her poem, is a girl who is eighteen years of age now and beautifully converges all her thoughts into a central point – ‘me’. Girls might find this poem as a ‘me’ poem wherein they look up to live a life full of happiness across seasons and spanning years.

It is a delightful read and thus a perfect choice to give this collection a perfect head-start.

  1. Pang of History by Pramit Sarkar

The author being an ardent follower of cricket, he takes just as much interest in cooking as he does in case of books.

Taking this skill, he is equally influential in ‘cooking up stories’ with strong plots and stronger characters. I have read and reviewed his works previously as well. Undoubtedly, he has a good command on his writing tools (guess work, visualization and writing) and it reflects in his stories which are close to reality and remain close to reader’s heart because they leave a lasting impact traversing through sea of emotions.

His story attempts to raise an alarm about how do children get affected by the study-related promises either given to or taken by their parents; and in this process how does their innocence gets lost somewhere within the book pages!

In this story he highlights the sensitivity of physiological trauma on innocent minds. How do kids get entrapped into the web of attending school and toiling hard to score marks that would please their parents! The story could have been a preachy one but he has packaged it smartly such that it urges the readers to think deep.

  1. The Lost and Found Self-Respect! By Aditi Sahu

According to the introduction shared, the author, recently, had co-founded a humanitarian society – The Benevolent Fools. Under this banner, she has undertaken several initiatives in and around Mumbai; from rescuing pets to teaching orphan children, from organizing musical programs for terminally ill patients to collecting donations for needy organizations.

Her story seems to be an extension of her active and vibrant personality wherein first-of-all, she presents a scenario that needs to be dealt with, then progresses to introspect and understand the gravity of the dire situation and lastly, suggests a solution – to the readers and to the society at large.

With this story she extends her passion to new limits and working in the similar direction; she shares the story of a mother wary of her daughter because she herself has been preyed upon in her childhood. She logically steer clears the confusion between the husband and wife and provides with a ray of hope which is workable and should be welcomed.

This innocent journey of attaining, then losing and lastly finding the self-respect is an inspiring one. It is a thought-provoking story about self-respect which once lost, snatches the innocence not only from the victim herself but transcends down the generation through an irrevocable chain reaction!

  1. The White Lily by Supriya Parulekar

As per the author introduction; she is used to daydreaming which she enjoys like it’s a sport. She loves unicorns, rainbows, and glitter. She acts all grown up, but is a real child at heart. She likes experimenting with different genres and you will find something dark and mysterious in her writings. Maybe it stems from the near-death experience she had as a child. She travels to different destinations, to rediscover herself, and look for an adventure of her own.

Generally speaking; an author becomes successful as a writer only when her dreams are mutually shared and visualized by her readers. Nevertheless, in order to make people believe in your dreams; you need to be a committed dreamer and so is the author; as far as her introduction unveils about her. She is on it! I have read and reviewed works from her and have always been impressed with her ability to draw the scenes in front of my eyes. I feel as if I am not reading a story but am admiring a beautiful picture colored with myriad hues of emotions, expressions and much more. She takes her stories to new heights. Not all authors can write in diverse genres but she is an exception of this generic tell tale. She is equally influential in all genres that she has touched on.

Read this story to learn how she carves a small, timid, soft and vulnerable girl’s character and portrays her as a ‘lamb’ who is preyed upon by a beastly ‘monster’. It was not at all difficult for me to feel that monster clawing on me. It was nerve wrenching to read how the innocence of a little girl as timid as a ‘lily’ plant was torn apart by the monstrous man.

  1. A Cry – Help Me! By Sunanda Bhadra

The author believes that life for her has been a roller-coaster ride but ‘hope’ her guiding lamp is what kept her moving forward.

She joins hands with the readers to move forward with her protagonist who cries her heart out. She, who has been separated by her family in the name of marriage only to be mishandled and sold to become something which is nothing less than a bonded sex laborer.

Though, in my opinion, the author has made an impressive attempt in choosing and writing on a sensitive plot; she falls a little short in taking the story to that high! The story brings into limelight how the innocence of teenage girls is snatched away brutally in the name of upliftment of the tender gender.

  1. The Lost Dreams by Swati Shenoy

As the author introduction outlines, the author is a bibliophile and forgets the world around her when she dives into the world of novels! Writer, dreamer, singer, artist, travel enthusiast and nature lover – that pretty much sums up her.

Extending her creative vibes into her work, she touches the ground reality as we experience it everyday in and near our own houses. She stirs up a discussion on how girls are not free to chose and work upon their choices – be it studies, career or passion. She has very beautifully penned the story of a girl child who seems to lose her innocence into maturity; within the so-called secure homely environment.

This story touched me deep!

  1. Live Like a Fairy! By Nikita Nepali

As her introduction outlines; she is a girl with countless dreams. At present, she is pursuing masters’ degree in I.T. she had started writing during her school days. Romance is her favorite genre.

Being a dreamer by nature and an expert in writing genre; she has presented with a very motivating story which is very much influenced by her age. Children do get trapped only to lose their confidence along with innocence. This negative energy eclipses the family as well but is it really necessary to lose every single hope?

Though, I found the end coming up very abruptly; she attempts to pass an important message – ‘Love is beyond physicality’! This crucial message needs to be read aloud to all people (including males and females alike) irrespective of their age, caste, creed, religion and relationship commitments.

  1. The Shadow by Dr. Sunil Kaushal

Her author bio introduces her as a retired gynecologist turned writer and loves everything about life. She has a passion for writing short stories, poetry and articles. Besides writing, she is an accomplished actor, having done a number of stage plays, TV and radio, other charitable institutes also. As Lioness Club President in 1982, she was awarded ‘Best Lioness President’ Asia. She has also been chairperson of a number of socially committed organizations for many years. Having been on the Advisory Committees of Doordarshan and All India Radio, she brought about a number of changes for Women and Children’s Welfare.

As her influential author bio suggests, she is a strong-minded personality and this feature seeps deep into her story where the protagonist decides to take the matter in her stride and chooses to punish him – herself! I simply loved the way, she has presented the scenario wherein she has not portrayed her to be a victim rather she fights back and punishes the BAD MAN. The punishment that she chose is something that I myself deem fit for all those who find it hard to tame and manage their masculinity by themselves.

This is one of my favorite pick from the compilation (not in a particular order). A not-to-be-missed contribution.

  1. The Guinea Pig – Piyush Kaviraj

Piyush is a research scholar working on cancer biology at present. He has always been an avid reader and writer, and he got addicted to poetry during his school days. Piyush aspires to be socio-political activist to help society. He believes that we owe so many things to the society that we can’t get rid of our responsibility of paying back / returning the favor. He, along with some like-minded friends, tries to contribute to society through social services, be it through guidance to cancer patients and their relatives, blood donations, or visiting orphanages / shelter homes.

In my opinion, this contribution carries the darkest shade of the suffering! It was very much painful reading this story and thus scores a high-rank in my favorites (in no particular order). Usually we consider physical imposition (forced physical relations) as the high-rated crime but it was very much draining experience to learn how in the name of advancements; we loot the innocence from the little kids.

Literally speaking, we rob the unripe buds even before they are capable enough to blossom. A not-to-be-missed contribution. You can very easily spot the activist-kind of tone in case the story. I wish we have more of such kind of case studies which guide us to identify the darkness beneath the lights!

  1. The Unheard Cry by Brinda Tailor

Brinda is an 18-year-old student, born and brought up in Baruch, Gujrat. She is currently in first year pursuing electronics and communications degree from DDIT. She started writing poems at the age of 15. After realizing her keen interest in writing, she started writing blogs, poems, short stories and notes.

Her published author bio has included much more about her vibrant personality which is reflected in her story which shares the outcry of a young girl. She shares what might go in the minds of young collegiate whose aspirations are in contrast with what their parents expect from them. An impressive contribution put in simple words.

I am confident that many readers will love this contribution from heart, as I did.

  1. The Loud Silence by Shreya Ganguly

She is an Intellectual Property Attorney practicing Law in Delhi. An Amity Law School Alumnus, she is a vivid reader, blogger and book reviewer. She is a volunteer with several NGOs, generally dealing in the field of Woman and child rights and Slum development projects.

As depicted in her introduction, she is a beauty with brains and she has contributed with a brainy story. Her story not only entertains but it also feeds our minds with food for thought. She brings into limelight the dark shades of the reality. This story is an apt example which complies that silence shouts louder than screams.

This is the third contribution that secures a place close to my heart and mind alike.

  1. Tales from a Pit Deep Down – Vaisakh E Hari

Vaisakh is a binge writer, 23, currently employed as a journalist at New Indian Express newspaper in Kerala. He has previously worked for business and travel magazines. His poetry has been published in several e-zines.

This story is based on true events.

  1. A Tryst with Naaz by Leena Ratti

Her interest lies in bringing educational opportunities to the marginalized sections of the society by empowering them through education. Her hobbies include writing poems and short stories, reading books, talking to people and observing them.

Taking her philosophies of life, she has penned a beautiful story and in her attempt she devises a new definition of ‘Child Abuse’. She has very smartly questioned the text printed in our textbooks.

This is a story with a stronger plot.

  1. Just a Lucky Day…or Not? By Shikha Kaul

She enjoys her passion to write in addition to keeping herself occupied with work and little less than two years old baby. She believes in writing her mind and accepts both appreciation and criticism as a feedback to enhancing her work.

Read this story to find how luck plays its cards. I have read and reviewed her work earlier and she takes her stint to a new realm with a short story. I felt a bit incomplete while reading the story. Though, I am finding it difficult to put it in words, I am sure that other readers might not feel the same. This story takes a sneak peek into the monsters that reside in our mentalities.

  1. Lesson Learned by Dr. Lopamudra Maitra

She is an assistant Professor and a visual anthropologist at Symbiosis Institute of Media and Communication (UG), Pune. Her main areas of research include – history and oral traditions, rural and urban culture and media. Her work is mostly based on ethnographic explorations and the survival of traditions amidst changing perspectives and times.

Her story seems very much influenced by the ethnic culture practiced in India until today. We do get news about female feticide, though in hushed voices. Scenario is changing fast and so is the mind-set of the people.               This story is one such account of a social harbinger who dares to save a life which was destined to be shunned even before her birth!

  1. Left to be Estranged by Ummal Fazal Fatima Khan

She is a teacher by profession. She holds a professional degree in education and translation proficiency. She works with young minds and is passionate for teaching. She has a deep attraction towards human psychology and loves to observe people’s behavior, which can be traced in her writings that takes up delicate issues of relationships, social evils and human nature.

Her persona seeps deep down into this contribution of her. She has meticulously crafted a story that extracts the very essence of her passion and profession as well, as stated in her author information. Her story dealt with the scenario about how the children deal with their problems. She highlights the fact that we should give respect to their opinions and they will open up. She introduces the readers to a new shade of child abuse which sets on as soon as we set high expectations from them and they try hard to live up to them only to be left behind.

  1. That Shade of Vermilion by Tanya Shrivastava

She is an avid reader, a passionate writer and an amateur shutter bug. I am not strong enough to change this world with a sword but I am capable to do it with my pen – says Tanya.

On her mission to change the world with her pen, she has written a story that restructures the familial values and surfaces a stark reality when young souls are not safe within the boundaries of walls of house and under the supervision of so-called family members.

This was one of the most painful stories that shatter the age-old beliefs and shouts – Where does the innocence got lost?

As I conclude my LONGEST BOOK REVIEW EVER, I recommend this anthology especially for school libraries and parents who are hunting for something useful, meaningful and purposeful for their children. This book will not only educate them but will also empower them to rediscover and sustain the INNOCENCE LOST.


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