Shazia Salam
ASAADHARAN GHAR (HOUSE OF UNCOMMONS) by By Vishakha George. Translated by Sushil Joshi. Edited by Seema & Bharat Tripathi. Cover design by Tanvi Parulkar Karadi Tales, 2022, 100 pp., INR 100.00
November 2023, volume 47, No 11

Asaadharan Ghar is a sensitive tale of resilience, hope and optimism, portraying the journey of young individuals living with HIV as they strive for a normal life. The story revolves around Krishnan, a teenager from Chincholi village in Karnataka, who is reluctantly on his way to Snehaga, also known as the ‘Village of Love’, located in the Krishnagiri District of Tamil Nadu. Krishnan is puzzled about why his uncle had brought him to the village, leaving his home behind, carrying only a few clothes and his late mother’s cherished blue sari as a keepsake.
Snehaga serves as a safe place for children who are HIV+ and face social stigma. After a few days there, Krishnan quickly forms close friendships and finds his interest in sports. He discovers his passion for running, initially challenging but gradually improving with consistent practice. His sports teacher, Coach Rohan, recognizes Krishnan’s commitment and sees his potential as a marathon runner. He gives him hope and a purpose.
At Snehaga, students are introduced to a parliamentary system where the concept of working in an organized and responsible manner is fostered in them. They deliver speeches and take charge to manage their education, health and order at the school. Krishnan enjoys his role and takes great pride in how he and his friends are gradually coming to recognize their ability to work for themselves. These children uplift each other to lead the lives that society outside denies them.
Asaadharan Ghar dispels misconceptions about HIV. The story underscores the significance of understanding and empathy when dealing with HIV+ individuals, reminding us that our ignorance and prejudice against such people is a social malaise.