If you are the kind of person who always finds herself in hot water without a clue as to how it happened, this is the book for you.
The story of Kabir, the Flyaway Boy, delves deeply into the heart of a child who cannot squeeze himself into the conventional mould. It explores the situation of an imaginative youngster who simply cannot live up to the expectations of his parents, teachers and almost everyone around him, with great empathy. However, it is also a cautionary tale for parents who relentlessly drive their children to achieve and compel them to shine by ticking off what they believe are the right boxes. It shows up the gaps in the school system as well, especially the lack of space for creativity and individualism, which does not allow children to develop their natural abilities, making them misfits for life.
Kabir is one of those kids who invariably gets everything wrong because he chooses to follow his own path. Lessons defeat him and each innocent action of his goes awry. He dwells almost completely in the world of his imagination and is totally out of sync with the reality his parents are striving to fit him into. His examination marks go up and down, and even in his favourite subject, art, he gets hauled up for drawing ‘a very dysfunctional animal’. While possessing the ability to create extraordinary fantasies out of the mundane, poor Kabir becomes more and more miserable about being ‘upside down’ and ‘all wrong’. His parents are at their wits’ end trying to make him ‘right’, when Kabir disappears mysteriously.
This is the defining moment in the book, where the problem of the child who will not be confined in the compartments created for youngsters, receives serious attention from his now repentant parents. His loss brings home the painful realization that they had misunderstood him all along and had not treated him right. And this is also where Kabir’s disappearance becomes a catalyst of sorts when his classmates and friends who have been little more than names up to that point, reveal their true selves under police interrogation. Confessions are made, fake stories concocted and unexpected talents discovered.