As the FIFA World Cup 2018 fever grips football fans across the world, Ramendra Kumar’s novel Against All Odds about a school boy Kartik who never gives up on his dream to play football although he has only one arm, catches the fascination of our young readers. Sixteen year old Ishika writes about the book she found inspiring, not only because of football but also because it is like a story next door!
What do you do when every door closes in your face? When the odds are against you? Most of us would give up, saying, “We’re not meant for this, this isn’t our destiny because the odds are too heavily stacked against us.”
Most of us, but not a certain boy Kartik, the protagonist of Ramendra Kumar’s Against All Odds, who refuses to be pinned down by the odds.
Being a child living in a small town can be difficult; everyone knows everyone else and news travels faster than a wildfire. Discussion of promotions at work, school results, special prizes and basically everything else takes place everywhere – homes, workplace, the clubs and even at schools!
Kartik and Kavya were twins and had just turned twelve.
Kartik’s left arm had not been fully formed at birth and was just a thin stump.
But that didn’t stop him from playing pranks and acting like an “over-enthusiastic” Orangutan. He was a perfectly normal child, just with one arm less.
That was before their father got transferred to a small town called Rourkela where everything is related to Ispat – an Ispat Township, Ispat Market and so on. (Trust me, everything really is related to Ispat there. I’m a Rourkelite, I know!)
Contrary to the situation in Kolkata, where no one paid much attention to the fact that he was one-armed, Kartik was reminded almost every second day that he was different.
And worst of all, the coach of his new school did not even allow him to play football – his one true passion.
But Kartik battled all odds – evil coaches and bully classmates – to finally get on the field and play the sport he lived, breathed and dreamed.
Being a Potterhead, I must compare every book I read with the Harry Potter (HP) books and Little Boys Activity Book!
So, first of all, the HP series, I must say, is fuelled by the wonders of magic.
Against All Odds is all about the magic of determination, passion and of course, football.
Against All Odds is different from the Harry Potter series also because its plot is similar to the happenings in real life.
While reading this book, various incidents which have happened to me as a resident of Rourkela, kept popping up in my head. For instance, that part where Kavya’s mum complains about their neighbours comparing their kid’s marks with Kavya’s.
I can relate to that (and almost every incident in the book), all too well.
Everything about this book feels like home, to me.
My favourite character has to be Siba, the boy who isn’t allowed to play because he has to work. He’s sassy, he’s talented and he’s not stuck-up, what’s there to not like?
Every scene where Kartik plays football is my favourite. You can feel through the pages, his zeal and happiness when he plays.
I’m not a big fan of any sport, I have to admit, but I love the spirit of football.
The energy is infectious.
It has this certain aura that binds people; the players with the viewers and the critics with the supporters.
No wonder its biggest tournament is called the “greatest show on Earth”.
Just like football, this book proves that miracles do happen when you believe.
(Pic courtesy: Pixabay)
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