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House of Uncommons

Nominated | Book Awards 2021 | Writings for Young Adults

House of Uncommons

…stone buildings seemed to rise out of a largely garden-like environment, and in the distance were the towering ghats. Snehagao was…beautiful… A new school, a strange new language, and an oddly cheerful roommate – Krishnan doesn’t know what to make of it all. He’s here after losing his only parent to HIV, and finding out that he has it too. Angry at having been made to leave the only home he’s ever known, Krishnan is desperate and homesick. He soon has to make way for new feelings, though – the exhilaration of bolting up and down the school’s running track, and the delicious thrill of competing with his best friend for the post of Prime Minister in the school parliament. Vishaka George’s uplifting story about a brave teenager and his lovable group of friends is inspired by real events, and is proof that wonderful things sneak up on you when you least expect them.

Author: Vishaka George
Publisher: Karadi Tales

Award Category: Writings for Young Adults
About the Book: 

House of Uncommons deals with the journey of a young boy, Krishnan, who is living with HIV. He travels to Snehagao (based on Snehagram in Krishnagiri), a vocational institute for children living with the disease. As he slowly comes to terms with his illness, he realises that he cannot let HIV dictate his life. He starts to enjoy a normal teenage life - participating in school activities and discovering his passion for running. He even gets a chance to run in the Boston Marathon!


About the Author: 

Vishaka George is a journalist who reports on agrarian distress and labour exploitation for the People's Archive of Rural India (PARI). She is also PARI's social media editor, working with a team of journalists who make stories from rural India more accessible to audiences across the world. Additionally, Vishaka is a part of a two-member team that teaches media ethics and rural journalism to school and college students. Prior to PARI, she worked at Reuters as a business correspondent where she covered news on energy corporations, and at CNN-IBN as a desk editor.


Excerpt: 

The light had started to fade quite rapidly. Krishnan wasn't able to see very much of Snehagao except for a few single-floor stone buildings and a lot of plants, but in the distance were the towering ghats. Snehagao was...beautiful. It was one of the most beautiful places he had ever seen.
They walked into a large dining hall and there they were: forty students just like Krishnan. All of them living with the Human Immunodeficiency Virus or, as he had heard it be called more often, HIV. For most of his life, Krishnan had been ostracized by neighbours and relatives in his village for having this virus. Now, he was thrust into a place full of children just like him. Snehagao may have been a school, but to him, it felt like a hospital, and he, a helpless patient. As he looked around, he noticed some of them appeared just fine, perfectly healthy, while others looked a lot like him, quite emaciated. At that moment, he realised there was no easy way to tell if a person had HIV. But Krishnan was fairly certain that everyone there knew exactly what it felt like to live with it.


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