ABOUT THE BOOKSadiq loves stitching colourful patterns on rugs. However, his Ammi reminds him that boys in his community don’t stitch, they tend to the livestock. But Sadiq is determined to pursue his passion. A tale about defying gender norms, and preserving a fading shepherd craft of Kashmir.
- This is a beautiful book set in the picturesque valleys of Kashmir, evoking a pastoral lifestyle and a world that is far simpler than ours.
- Niloufer Wadia’s artwork draws upon a rich palette of colours, and offers lovely picture-postcard views of the mountains in summer.
- Author Mamta Nainy chooses to subvert notions of gender by creating the character of a young Bakarwal boy who loves to stitch and who follows his heart despite the fact that boys in his community only tend to the livestock.
- Using the occasional Kashmiri word like ‘noon-cha’ is a good idea to give readers a flavour of the region in which the story is set.
- However, the author does not seem to have fleshed out details needed to make the story more richly textured and credible, such as the kind of embroidery the Bakarwals create, how Sadiq became interested in embroidery, what drove him to stay up night after night embroidering a rug, or how is it that his mother did not notice that a candle/fire was burning at night when the mother and son were supposedly asleep.
- A nomadic community like the Bakarwals would surely have a network of family and friends. Why don’t we know anything of Sadiq’s friends? Why are they absent in this narrative?
- There was no need for the author to have resorted to the overused trope of a widow and a fatherless child having to make a living. Surely the tale could have been told in other ways.
- The book could have become a good resource if a few details of the stitches used by the Bakarwals had been included along with simple instructions for kids. This could have been featured along with the note on the Bakarwals at the end of the book.