After Bitter Chocolate

Rajeev Ranjan Roy

After the success of Bitter Chocolate, a book on child abuse in India, journalist-turned-author Pinki Virani is going to try her hand at fiction. "The abuse of children will continue to be the central theme of my literary pursuits. It is the priority concern of my life, and I will carry on creating awareness to check incidents of child abuse so rampant in the country," Virani said. She was among 15 women on whom Congress president Sonia Gandhi conferred the Stree Shakti Puraskar on International Women’s Day for their outstanding performance in various fields. A bestseller, Bitter Chocolate in English has sold more than 30,000 copies ever since it hit the stands in 2000. The book has undergone 11 reprints, and has also been translated into Marathi and Hindi.

"The success of Bitter Chocolate continues to be a major source of inspiration for me. I feel every responsible member of the society should come forward to save our children from any type of abuses. It is a major challenge before us." In the book, Virani has touched upon a number of queries as to what constitutes sexual abuse, why some men and women sexually abuse children, and what happens to such children when they grow up. She vividly puts forth the devastating consequences of child sexual abuse through a hundred varied case histories in the book.

Virani is confident that she will put down her concerns in a work of fiction as well. "There is no deadline, but I have something in mind. It will be a piece of fiction," she said. Her commitment to the cause of preventing children from abuses keeps her busy even today. "It is an ongoing fight, and will keep going on till childhood stands protected. I understand that the task is difficult, but not impossible if each of us joins hands in creating awareness against child abuse."

As women can play a key role in preventing child abuse, Virani was all praise for the government’s decision to encourage women for their exemplary services to society. "It is a welcome move. The women can make a lot of difference in society if they are effectively empowered. For this, a lot needs to be done at the grassroots level," Virani said. — IANS