Kali doesn’t want to go to school. He ambles along at his slowest pace.
He is an Irula child; part of a community that has traditionally been snake-catchers. His classmates think he’s strange.
Kali doesn’t have a single friend although it’s been two months since the school began. He wishes he was normal like the others; an ordinary boy with an ordinary bus conductor/postman-father.
While everyone takes a bite of their idlis or biscuits, Kali sits alone and munches his snack wishing no one will spot him eating his favourite food – fried termites! To make things worse, he is a bright student and his teachers always appreciate him. Kali knows that no one will want to befriend the teacher’s pet.
He loses hope of making any friends and wishes he could stop coming to school, until an unexpected visitor drops by his class one day: a big, black rat snake!
Kali’s forest-filled world comes alive through the delightful and detailed watercolors by Srividya Natarajan. Zai Whitaker tells Kali’s story, evoking empathy in children to understand different identities and cultures.
Trivia: Zai Whitaker has worked, spoken, and written extensively for wildlife conservation and welfare of indigenous people. She is also one of the directors of Irula Tribal Women’s Welfare Society.