A friend of mine, who has an autistic child, was discussing the lack of good and reliable literature on autism. Not necessarily about what is autism, but how to sensitise the community about what it actually means, understanding an autistic individual and the amount of patience, love and time it requires from the primary caregivers. Dustin Hoffman’s portrayal in Rain Man was probably only a small step in the direction but that was many, many moons ago.
Late last year, Random House India published T.G.C. Prasad’s From the eye of my mind. It is about eighteen-year-old Mallika, an autistic whose special skills lie in word games and being a voracious reader. She possesses a phenomenal memory but lacks all sense of context. The book is about Mallika’s agitation at the thought of her beloved older brother, Ananth, getting married and bringing a stranger into the house. A distressing thought for Mallika. It is a story sensitively told by the author, who minutely documents the characteristics of an autistic person, the worry that her parents have for her future and how it impacts their decision in bride-hunting for Ananth.
This is a book worth reading, sharing, discussing, using extensively in schools or programmes for autism. Of course it does have a Bollywood-like ending and could do with another round of proofing, nevertheless — read it. Here is the facebook page http://www.facebook.com/pages/Fiction-book-on-autism-From-the-eye-of-my-mind/401970173220062 .
T.G.C. Prasad From the Eye of my Mind Ebury Press, Random House India, 2012. Pb. pp. 306 Rs. 299 ( Also available as an eBook.)