Shanti is a disabled Indian boy. He charms snakes, rides underneath a lorry, joins a group of puppeteers and meets a wonderful friend, Ashiq, but because of a terrible tragedy he loses everything. Hope arises when he hears Hamid, a blind boy, playing a flute and the two boys become a musical duo.
Shanti and Hamid have the good fortune to be taken into Rupa’s family and so the story goes …
After teaching small children, for many years, I retired and now have six grandchildren and two step-great grandchildren.
My early retirement was spent backpacking around India. On returning to England I had many photos but no intention of writing a children’s story.
However, Shanti, who we met at a bus station, kept emerging in my memories of the street children in India. Because of this, I became obsessed with the thought that I had to write a story about four of the children, who lived and smiled in the face of horrendous misfortune.
The spirit of Garnesh is the first of a trilogy. The other two being A Dance for Rupa and Shanti.
I wanted a child with a physical handicap to be central to a story. Shanti and his special friend Ashiq are real children and as such were a special inspiration to me.