As the name suggests, Utpal Kant Mishra’s T21 in Down’s Lane is about a family’s struggle through Down’s Syndrome. It talks about a couple who, inspite of knowing that their unborn baby has a genetic condition, decide to give birth and bring the child to this world. There is a lot of logic and struggle behind coming to this decision and it’s all written in the baby’s father’s words, in his diary. The struggle through pregnancy, childbirth and then growing up years of Jay, the kid with Down’s Syndrome, is painted quite vividly.
Aashima, a journalist, comes to meet Jay for a news item and gains an insight into his mind and emotions and his parents’ emotions. The story shows their struggle in making others see their point of view in continuing with the pregnancy and then get the child accepted in society. In a country like ours, this is almost impossible.
Ayesha and Siddhartha have a late pregnancy and the sonography shows the possibility of having a chromosomal defect in their child. Every doctor they come across suggests them to abort the child but they decide to not do so. After Jay is born, they go through even more struggles because now it’s about helping him survive and grow in a hostile society. How things have shaped up for Jay as he grows up is rest of the story.
The premise of the story is good, and there is a lot of emotion. As a mother, I could feel Ayesha’s fear and dilemma and her protectiveness. But, the writing is bad. Specially the first half. The grammar is not good, sentences are fragmented and this simply ruins the enjoyment out of reading a good story. If corrected, this could have been a very good book. But sometimes it frustrates a lot. And also, at one point Siddhartha compares their lives to a T20 match. I am quite sure there was no concept of T20 in mid-90s.
My rating: 2.5/5
P.S. I would like to thank Writers Melon for review copy of this book.