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Best out of waste

books Updated: Nov 19, 2010 23:40 IST
Meera Chikermane
Meera Chikermane
Hindustan Times
Highlight Story

Trash
Andy Mulligan
random house
Rs 399 pp 224

This book is a riveting adventure of three young boys — Gardo, Jun-Jun and Raphael — who live in Behala, a huge slum. The story revolves around their lives, talks about the hardships faced by the poor and highlights the importance of friendship.

Day in day out they live surrounded by trash. Imagine how it feels living in the hills. Nice, isn’t it? But imagine that the hills are made up of garbage, of all the things we throw in dustbins. Now imagine someone playing, sitting and sleeping in it. It gets worse when police, which can do anything and nobody would know or do anything about it, are waiting like hawks a couple of miles away. Why? Because you are nobody. A scary thought, isn’t it? But the three boys and their families live with this reality every minute of their lives.

Reading parts like these was disturbing and depressing. For the first 25 pages or so, I had to push myself to read it, in the hope that it may get bearable. Luckily it does.

The three boys stumble upon a bag with two keys, one that unlocks a locker and the other that unlocks a life worth living. They plunge into the secret life of a murdered man with the police at their heels. The part when they are roaming in the city, hiding from the police and looking for shelter is one that I liked, as it tells us how close they are and what they mean to each other.

Mulligan’s writing style is very different from anything I have read. He tells the story through the eyes of all the characters. This gives every character’s point of view. It’s like a football match on TV where you get to watch it from all angles; sometimes the camera zooms in on the goalpost, sometimes it pans across the stadium. Similarly, you get a full view of the story.

It is a well-written book with a good storyline. The beginning, however, is a bit of a struggle. But after that it only gets better. It makes the readers aware of life without comforts. Those who like adventures and can live with some depressing parts should read Trash.

Meera Chikermane, 13, studies in Mirambika School, Delhi