Book Review: A Kind Wish by Jashan Sidhu

“Nothing hypes me up like kindness these days.”

When you have lived a considerable number of years in this world, 29 in my case, it’s natural to feel a bit lethargic or numb to most of the external stimuli or ideas around you. We read so much negativity in our news and witness too much hate on social media every day that we have become too tolerant of them. When I was in my teenage years, I used to feel so charged up and angry when I heard a misogynistic sentence or conversation at my home, school or in my neighbourhood. In my early 20s, corruption, scams, and cases of domestic violence or sexual abuse used to boil my blood so much that I felt the need to react to them in some way. Cut to 29; am I really the same person who used to rebel about the things she hated every day?

I’ve gotten used to the idea that we live in an unfair, imperfect world. I know good movies always have grey characters instead of black and white ones because real life only has grey characters. We are all grey. We have all done something we are not proud of. Something that makes us feel disappointed about ourselves. Hurting a friend with our words, letting down our family at a moment when they needed us a lot, not loving enough, hesitating on truth or delaying a just act; we’ve all done something we wish we could correct. I look back at many past moments in my life and reexamine the things I believe I had done right and wonder: I wish I had focused more on being kind instead of being right.

I recently read the book ‘A Kind Wish’ by Jashan Sidhu published by Papertowns, India. I would classify it under the genres like ‘Children’s books’ and ‘Fantasy’. It is a book that focuses on the theme of kindness. It has characters with both light and darkness. But the characters like the protagonist Dave or his love interest, Elaine, are people who always know the right thing to do in even the most difficult moments. They always choose love and kindness, despite the hardships that they have to endure for it.

King Arthur and Queen Svanne of the Kingdom Blestaire had huge hopes for the Servotum or the magical awakening ceremony of their firstborn child, Prince Dave. But crushing an entire kingdom’s hope, Dave became the first person to be born in Blestaire without magic. His parents abandoned him. A maid was assigned the task of bringing up him as her child. The people in the kingdom were warned not to talk about the incidents. If they did, they were burned to death.

As a man without magic, the whole kingdom disrespected and hated him, except the kids and his invisible, comical friend Ling. Despite a life of hardship, Dave has only love and kindness in his heart for others. But he isn’t always too kind to himself. He dreams of creating a world without hatred. But the sorrow and pain inside him surrounded him like a cold winter of loneliness. That is when Elaine enters his life like cherry blossoms on snow, like a beautiful spring. The events that ensue their encounter change their lives around. If I had to sum up this book in one line I would say – in a tale with magic and monsters, love and hate, poetry and prose, kindness takes centre stage.

The story reminded me so much of the barbie stories I watched as a kid. A kingdom, an abandoned child, a magical friend, a love interest, an evil villain, monsters – the book has all the tropes of a Cinderella story. The picturisation of the scenes within the story reminded me so much of Japanese, Chinese or Korean movies I’ve watched; maybe because of the mountains, the spring, the forest, the trees, flowers, and the cherry blossoms on the snow. The narration that uses both poetry and prose hints at a skilled craftsman behind the pages.

As adults who think negativity and darkness are the reality, the idea that kindness can triumph over evil might seem so idealistic or fairytale-ish. But I think the kids will love reading it. As I already hinted at the beginning of this write-up, nothing hypes me up like kindness these days. So even though this is a black-and-white, dream-like, far-from-reality-ish story, I loved reading it.

The book is full of long but quotable quotes. I also enjoyed the quotes about kindness from other authors added at the beginning of each chapter. I couldn’t help but notice issues in areas like punctuation that could be solved by one more round of proofreading. Eg: double punctuation – ,.

Overall it was a refreshing, positive, short read for me with just 59 pages. My rating is 3.5/5.

“In the core of their hearts, all people are kind. It’s just that sometimes the world gets to them faster than the beats of their heart, and they forget all about kindness. It just goes on to show that they have not witnessed the kind of magic that slows down the world around you and makes you appreciate the wonders and genius that have always been around them.”

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