Just a Train Ride Away won the Bal Sahitya Puraskar! A national award! Yay! Yippee!
*Choking noises of joy. Takes a few deep breaths. Sits down.*
This is the news, people. Just a Train Ride Away has been selected for the newly instituted Bal Sahitya Puraskar 2010 by the Sahitya Akademi. Author Mini and all of us here at Tulika have been treading air ever since we heard the news. Tulika publishes fiction for older children very selectively and the little that we do publish is clearly award-winning material. We are so cool. *Tries hard to be modest about it all and fails*
“Just a Train Ride Away is the story of Santosh’s train journey from Mumbai, where he lives with his mother, to Kolkata on holiday. But he has secret plans to look for his father whom he barely remembers. The train ride brings him into contact with people quite outside his sheltered world – an eventful prelude to another, deeper journey. With a refreshingly light and honest touch, Just a Train Ride Away explores the emotional dilemma of a young boy who craves the space for both parents in his life and faces the bitter-sweet reality of estrangement and belonging.”
That’s what the blurb says. Also, allow us to add, it’s marvelous that the author takes a heavy theme - a son of divorced parents looking for the father - and tells the story with such elegant simplicity. We loved that she doesn’t make a villain out of any one parent but presents them both as nice but incompatible people. The lessons that Santosh learns on the train are understandings and questions that he arrives at by himself – not inflicted on him by didactic adults. For all these reasons and more, you should read Just a Train Ride Away for yourself. We’re so glad the Sahitya Akademi feels the same way.