Spread the love

Living with Adi by Zarin Virji

My take on the book:

Ardeshir Krishnan, Adi is a class ninth student who is a class topper, secured maximum marks in every subject, is an avid reader, especially passionate about reading and learning about all kinds of snakes in the world. But his different behavior towards anyone outside his family makes him easy target of bullying by his classmates.

As he is termed weird and called names, even his schoolteachers often branded him as troublemaker without finding the real facts. Will Adi’s true talent and character ever shine amidst society’s alienation of anyone not fitting into its standards forms the rest of the story.

Adi is diagnosed with ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder) which only his mother Delna and elder sister Jasmin acknowledge and support him. His parents got divorced as his father felt his mother was paying too much attention to Adi’s condition, neglecting everything else about their family. Even his grandmother (referred to lovingly as Mamaiji by her grandkids) believes Delna is not parenting Adi the right way.

The story is about a young boy who is brilliant in academics but owing to his ASD condition, is bullied by his classmates and often misunderstood by his teachers. The story is narrated from multiple perspectives, each chapter from the perspective of one of the characters, giving an all-round view of how each of them saw Adi, truly highlighting what it means to be living with Adi.

The story while highlighting about the life of a child with ASD also talks about kids’ response to their parent’s separation, how stepparents are generally branded by society, drug abuse and the long-term trauma it causes for the families left behind, single mother’s struggle to bring up children. Even Adi’s love for snakes and reading is well wound up towards the end, so is Jas’s adventurous traits landing her in unexpected trouble.

The Parsi traditions are also well narrated by the author giving an insight into their culture, rituals2, food and lifestyle through Mamaiji. I felt Delna’s relationship with her co-workers and the man she showed interest in, should have been explored more. Also, Suzila’s character had more potential than portrayed in the story.

Overall, the story is a touching tale of how children with special needs deserve empathy and equal opportunities that they are generally denied and how this is needed from family, friends, neighbors, teachers and classmates for such kids to shine bright.

My rating: