Sonnets of hope

In her new book for children, C is for Cat, D is for Depression, Kairavi Bharat Ram, 22, uses a number of metaphors to describe depression. She compares it with a movie “full of colour and so bright, that loses all vibrancy, and is now black and white”. Or with walking around with a dark cloud over your head. “Around you it is sunny, but on you, there is a storm instead,” she writes. Bharat Ram says she has only ever been able to write in verse, and that, too, when she is very emotional. When she was diagnosed with depression in Class 12, her chaotic feelings lend themselves beautifully to poetry.

In the waiting room outside her therapist’s office, she used to see children as young as five or six needing counselling. She wanted to help them express their feelings, so came up with these metaphors that describe “a treasure chest of different emotions”.

The book works, and not just for children, because it is honest. It captures the essence of depression in a way only poetry can, because poetry lends itself so beautifully to emotions which prose struggles to pin down. The writing also has a pleasing effortlessness to it. Priya Kuriyan’s illustrations accompanying the poems are spot-on and give them sparkle.

C is for Cat... ends on a note of hope. “The only thing you cannot control is that things change,” says Bharat Ram. “No matter what you are feeling today, tomorrow will come.” Perhaps that is the reason for the pages beginning in black and ending in yellow. Because when the sun comes out in the morning, it will bring its paint box with it.

C is for Cat, D is for Depression

By Kairavi Bharat Ram

Published by Scholastic

Price Rs495; pages 65

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