My Father is a Hero by Nishant Kaushik
Vaibhav Kulkarni is a single father to a bright young daughter, Nisha. She is ten-years-old, an ace student, a star singer and also helpful, smart and thoughtful.
Then on the day of her birthday something happens that changes her. She loses interest in everything – school, studies, music, friends. Despite Vaibhav’s repeated attempts to unravel the mystery behind Nisha’s listlessness as also his attempts to cheer her, things continue to spiral downwards.
In a desperate attempt to find his daughter’s happiness Vaibhav goes all out to fulfil her dearest dream.
What I thought
To begin with I loved the cover, though the girl looks much younger than a-ten-year old and that bag doesn’t look like it could belong to a ten-year-old either, but I will ignore that. I do love books on relationships and a father-daughter connect is a wonderful peg. That was what made me reach out for this one.
However, that was the only good thing about the book. My biggest grouse was that the entire father-daughter relationship revolved around ‘sacrifice’. Every incident and every conversation steers around and focusses again and again on how much Vaibhav is sacrificing for his daughter, how his life revolves around Nisha and her achievements.
That got really tiresome. Sacrifice is such an overrated virtue, anyway, specially when such a big deal is made of it. I kept looking for the fun in their relationship and warmth and tenderness. All I found was more sacrifice and duty and responsibility. It bothered me that there seemed very little happiness in the Kulkarni household.
What’s worse Nisha seems terribly aware of all that her father was doing for her. Despite all her virtues she didn’t endear herself to me. She’s much too good. Not only does she top each exam, she also wins the music competition every year. She manages her assignments on her own, goes for music classes on her own then waits dutifully for her father to pick her up. Despite never having been abroad she manages to negotiate the streets and find her way all on her own.
Where do they make children like Nisha?
There’s nothing of a ten-year-old in her. She mothers her father. She makes him blush when she tells him of her teacher’s crush on him. And yet she cannot tell him what she truly wants. Sample this: Vaibhav asks her, ‘Nisha did you want this party to be organised in the farmhouse?’ She chose her words carefully in order that they revealed nothing about what she wanted. ‘It was not my idea.’ And conveniently enough Vaibhav can’t see through her response. That irked me – the fact that there was no true closeness between the father and daughter.
The climax did a little to lift the story but seemed contrived and unreal. I am almost sorry to say I didn’t enjoy the book. The idea it began with had been so wonderful.
Last thought: Sadly enough, this could be given a miss.
PS: Do ten-year-olds colour their hair? And call their classmates ‘hot’? With two ten-year-olds in my house, I sure hope not.
Disclaimer: I received a copy of the book from Writers Melon in return for an honest and unbiased review.