Trigger Warning: child abuse
Hey! Today I will be reviewing a short story, The Dark Ruse, by Ashutosh Bansode which was published along with four other books in Daastan’s The Stories Untold-Season 4 #IAmZainab. As you might have guessed, theme of this competition was child abuse in all its forms. Daastan chose to spread social awareness after Zainab’s case came to light in the media.
The Dark Ruse tells the story of a perfectly ordinary family consisting of loving supportive parents and two bright children who face a terrible tragedy despite living in the best environment. What most people fail to understand is that darkness finds everyone in the most unexpected of ways. It’s important to be on your guard 24/7 especially when children are involved. The path to impenetrable darkness is a very slippery slope. You’ll never know when or how you got there.
Rahul is an average teenager who suddenly starts showing signs that all is not alright in his life. Many parents don’t take teenagers seriously because they feel like their heightened emotions cause them to act out. In this case, Rahul’s parents note the changes and decide to investigate. The question is, are they too late?
The progression of this story was simply wonderful and the author did an amazing job at the toughest part. What surprised me was that “zoom out” in the end where you went from the story of one boy to the story of millions of victims and survivors around the world. It jolts you. The big picture is a perspective that the general public takes too lightly. They think of cases as numbers. They don’t think of them as people who lived and breathed just like them. They don’t think about the loved ones who will forever bear the trauma of that loss. Those who survived need our understanding and support. They are not to be pitied. They deserve love and comfort which will push away the deep darkness that they were thrown into.
On this note, I would like to praise how well the author presented the fears and horrors of the trials these children face. People are hesitant to read books on this subject but you can see that it doesn’t have to be crude. Authors can make an impact without using these issues as plot devices or shock factors. A delicate topic like this meant to be handled sensibly. I applaud the author for their considerate touch.
You can read The Dark Ruse online at Mera Qissa and purchase it there too.