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Last Updated Sunday June 16 2019 11:19 PM IST

'Moonlight:' Seeing the world in wordless forms

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'Moonlight' is the latest collection of poems and prose by Sherin Mary Zacharia, a sixteen-year-old, non-verbal, autistic Kochi girl.

A gifted poetess, Sherin sees the world wordlessly and feels its pulse in frequencies unknown to most of us. Her first poem in the new book, 'Moonlight,' opens with a sense of wonder, pondering if her thoughts would ‘turn into lines and flow away…’ when she sleeps.

Absorbed in a contemplative silence, Sherin communicates with her mother, Sangeetha John, a former educationist, by writing on her palm with her fingers.

As Arun M writes in the foreword, ‘Sherin scrawled her concern for the birds and the trees, the fishes and the bees, shared her vision of a brave new world and often had a laugh at her own incapacities. And all this was done wordlessly.'

Her poem ‘Whales,' talks about the fear that whales have, not for the waves around them, but for the men who are out to harm them. Care for a rapidly degrading environment is a recurring theme throughout.

Here is a short poem called Growing Up which speaks to us about steely determination in the face of odds:

Road to the mountains only go up

Climb them

Tedious curves

Every breath finds it tough

With rising heights

Decision to reach the summit

As I grow up.

If the great ONV once wrote a requiem for Mother Earth in his poem 'Bhoomikku Oru Charamageetham,' Sherin lets us into an even more apocalyptic imagery via a write-up called 'Woolly Mammoth Returns.'

It laments an Earth reeling under global warming where several species have gone extinct. Such deep ruminations on life and nature make Moonlight a resplendent spiritual experience.

Sherin's blog

Her intuition and feelings find outlet in poignant poems and prose which are featured in her blog, embellished by equally lovely illustrations by her kid sister Shreya. Sherin’s blogs were complied to bring out three of her earlier books, 'Mazhavillu', 'Ente Manassile Chinthakal' and 'Snehasammanam.' Moonlight is a collection of poems and prose pieces published by Vayanappura Publications.

Several accolades

Moonlight was released by eminent poet K Satchidanandan at the Krithi International Book Fair in Kochi on 4th March 2018.

The master critic also described the writer as a miracle and marveled at the contemplative and mature undertones in her writing.

Shashi Tharoor tweeted after meeting the gifted child, ‘Differently-abled means just that: she has abilities many non-autistic people don’t have. Her words penetrate the mist.’

S.S. Jayasankar, head of Oorjja, a skills-development centre for special needs children, speaking at the function, shared his hope that the day will not be far when a divine talent like Sherin proudly runs a publishing firm or a similar enterprise.

Sherin has bagged the Reuel International Poetry Prize and the Autistic Marvel Talent Hunt award instituted by the Government of India’s Department of Social Justice and Empowerment.

She has also won the under-18 prize for Asia region in the Unseen and Unspokenpoetry competition. 

Read more: Latest in Books

The opinions expressed here do not reflect those of Malayala Manorama. Legal action under the IT Act will be taken against those making derogatory and obscene statements.

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