“It’s a must-read for the new generation.”
NO MAJOR SPOILERS
You could call this a version of Amitav Ghosh’s The Great Derangement for children. Bijal Vachcharanjani dramatises climate change and its toxic results through a great brown cloud that covers Mumbai in an unliftable haze and threatens its inhabitants with acid rain, noxious gases and rising temperatures that cannot escape because of the cloud cover. Four children, Amni, Tammy, Mithil and Andrew find their lives more and more affected by Bhura Cloudus as the noisy news channels and the politicians call it. While the adults cannot find a solution and the politicians look for a quick dramatic city saving ploy, the children suffer and grumble as children do because the world is not in their hands.
The author packs her books with faqs and trivia on climate change in between the narrative, and gives the cloud itself a poetic voice. In between she mentions actual books that the children should be reading, including Amitav Ghosh. What A Cloud Called Bhura does is package the devastation that climate change can cause in a dramatic fashion and language that most Indian children will relate to, peppered with chocolate shakes, divorced parents and the other aspects of child life that makes most of them feel powerless. Of course, climate change has seen a young champion in the shape of Greta Thunberg and her example is a strong inspiration for the book, even though she is not named.
A Cloud Called Bhura takes its time making a point but yes, climate change does take a lot of demonstrating and convincing since even know, most are unaware of how it may affect them personally. Vachcharanjani also makes it clear that it can only be solved by small collective moves that together add up to a greater good – there are no immediate quick fix solutions and we are all in it together.
Added 18th February 2021