Life in a wheelchair is pretty straight forward. It is in tune with a body that cannot be fine-tuned to our needs. An unforeseen accident at a prime age leaves Joel, our protagonist, on a wheelchair for life. His strained familial relationships and fate, if that’s what we can call it, is depressing.
He reads, watches television and uses social media. The more monotonous it gets, the more he concludes that the world outside his window is a volcano in the making. There is distress all around. He switches to Facebook, stumbling upon the profiles of people who passed away. “I don’t prefer to switch on lights now. The square light on my laptop screen is a window. I see a world through that square.”, says Joel.
He does find a space in the cyber world. Joel is on a mission that prevents him from ending his life. He takes up the question of life expecting to find an answer in death. His journey on this mission carries the story forward with ease and unleashes the complexities of the thoughts he had been carrying along.
Anish Francis’ ‘Vishadavalayangal’ depicts the ramifications of depression and how the protagonist combats it through an engaging tale. The book was shortlisted for the 2018-DC Sahithya Award.