Titled Mai (Malvika’s nickname as a kid), the illustrations trace her story from her childhood until the fateful day, and how her life changed dramatically thereafter.
Sketched by Chennai-based Sriram Jagannathan, the novel has already made flutters online with its pre-orders.
“Sriram had some mutual friends with me and saw my posts online. Then he came across my speech at the United Nations headquarters in New York and got in touch. It took months of phone calls and a year of work to finish the novel, and my family and I shared several anecdotes and pictures with Sriram to enable him get an idea on how to frame the characters.
When I read it now, it comes across as a wonderful piece of storytelling,” says Malvika.
The cover of the book shows Malvika’s graphic avatar with a red dupatta – flying like a cape behind her. “It was what my mom was wearing when the accident took place, and I have a vivid recollection of the tear-strewn cloth being used to wipe the blood off my face as I came to terms with what happened. I still have that dupatta and it holds a very special place in my life,” she explains.
Malvika hopes the novel will serve as inspiration for readers to appreciate the little victories in life as they go through her everyday struggles in the book, and accept failures as stepping stones. “I just finished my PhD and am preparing a module, which schools and colleges could use to influence young people’s attitudes towards the differentlyabled, and sensitise them accordingly.
I’m also working on designing accessible fashion and doing my bit for the community,” she concludes