No Title
Shiv Narayan Gour
A PINCH OF MAGIC by Asha Nehemiah Duckbill (An Imprint of Penguin/Random House), 2021, 65 pp., 175.00
November 2021, volume 45, No 11

A Pinch of Magic by Asha Nehemiah is a story about a girl named Veena and her aunty Malu. Aunt Malu makes herbal medicines. She is known for her herbal medicines that she learned from her Guru. One of the tools that Aunt Malu uses to make her medicines breaks and the story revolves around Veena and Aunt Malu looking for that pinching spoon that is required for making medicines.

The story throws light on some very important issues and breaks stereotypes while sticking to the narrative. The role of women is a major part of the story. Aunt Malu and Veena go to Harrabharrapazham in order to look for the Guru. Initially, they are disappointed because they are not able to find the Guru. But later in the story we see that they find the Guru and she turns out to be a woman, when they were expecting a man. The author builds this mystery by not mentioning the identity of the Guru earlier in the story. Later, when we learn Guru Kalyani’s reasons behind hiding her identity, we understand the condition of our society, especially for women. But Guru Kalyani does what she wanted to do even when no one believed that she could. This also shows how sometimes one needs to break certain societal norms and stereotypes in order to do something one like.

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