I Kick and I Fly by Ruchira Gupta
My take on the book:
Fourteen-year-old Heera lives in a makeshift house near the railway track in Bihar’s Red-Light District, with her parents and four siblings. Her cousin Mira di who lived in the next lane has been sold by her father into prostitution and Mira’s own brother functioned as her pimp; Heera knew that it is a matter of time before her jobless father sold her also into the sex trade to repay his loans.
Heera’s family lived in absolute poverty and depended on the food leftovers gathered from the railway track; Heera’s mother pushed her to join the local school to discourage her father from selling her off, which also meant Heera could fill her stomach at least once a day with the school meals and sometimes sneaked in the egg served in her school lunch to share among her four siblings.
With torn shoes and tattered clothes, Heera is the target of the school bullies whom she attacked back head-on, but that also meant the school Principal expelled her for bad conduct. As fate would have, she stumbles upon Kung Fu training at a girls’ hostel nearby that helps her shift from being vulnerable to being in-charge of her life and of others around her.
Heera dearly missed her friend from school Rosy who vanished suddenly and when she gets an opportunity to find Rosy, she travels across the globe to US. Will Heera be able to find and rescue Rosy forms the rest of the story.
The story begins with Heera getting expelled from her school and describing to the reader what life is in the slum. The author does not sugarcoat the ground reality of Heera and her family, which is maintained throughout the story. The story while being about grit, determination and perseverance also highlights an important and pertinent issue of child trafficking.
Heera’s character obviously is the star of the story that will inspire young girls. The author’s in-depth research is evident in the prose; the story is hard-hitting. The author provided details of all the resources available to help fight child trafficking that has penetrated its tentacles deep into our society.
Highly recommend everyone to pick this one to read about an important social issue.