My first exposure to the world of drug addiction came in 1970 during my first trip to the United States. The enormity of the problem and its horrifying consequences gripped my imagination and remained embedded in my subconscious. A decade and a half later, my thoughts have taken the shape of Avan. The UN declared 1985 the International Year of the Youth and I felt the need to commemorate this in my own way by writing a serialised story on the problem of drug abuse that was by then assuming alarming proportions in India. I wanted to create an awareness of drug addiction and its consequent problems amongst the people, particularly among parents and the youth.
The reasons why people take to smoking, drinking or drugs are many but the following are the most common
a) For the sheer pleasure of it.
b) Unable to contain their curiosity over drugs.
c) Coerced into it by peers.
Apart from this, yet another important reason is the easy access to money that many of the young today enjoy. Psychologists claim that in families where both parents are working, there is often an attempt to overindulge the children by giving them money and gifts to compensate for their inability to spend quality time with their children.
I would like to add that the 'generation gap' that adults have allowed to creep into their relationships with their children is yet another reason for their indulging in such endangering practices. We should also acknowledge that the root cause of relationship conflicts is lack of communication. Free and frank discussions from time to time would go a long way towards nipping conflicts in the bud. We need to understand that it is entirely in our hands how peacefully we lead our lives and how we are able to keep it conflict free. Experts feel that if we develop our self confidence and give up on leaning on others and looking up to them to resolve our problems, we will be able to face up to life in a far more self assured manner.
I would like to stress here that while the story is fictional, although pieced together on the lives of the numerous drug addicts I met and the case studies experts provided me with, the material provided at the end of each chapter related to drugs, their aftereffects and so on are completely factual. I express my gratitude to all of those people drug addicts, doctors, parents and others—who opened up to me during my research to write this story. The book is as much theirs as it is mine!
My sincere thanks to Shobana Swaminathan, Rekha Shetty and Janaki Viswanathan for helping me translate the original Tamil version to English.
Sivasankari (born October 14, 1942) is a renowned Tamil writer and activist. She has carved a niche for herself in the Tamil literary world during the last four decades with her works that reflect an awareness on social issues, a special sensitivity to social problems, and a commitment to set people thinking. She has many novels, novellas, short stories, travelogues, articles and biographies to her credit. Her works have been translated into several Indian languages, English, Japanese and Ukrainian. Eight of her novels have been made into films, having directed by renowned directors like K. Balachander, SP Muthuraman and Mahendran. Her novel 'Kutti' on girl child labour, filmed by the director Janaki Viswanathan, won the President's Award. Sivasankari's novels have also been made as teleserials, and have won the national as well as regional 'Best Mega Serial' awards. As a multi-faceted personality, she has won many prestigious awards including Kasturi Srinivasan Award, Raja Sir Annamalai Chettiyar Award, Bharatiya Bhasha Parishad Award, 'Woman of the year 1999-2000' by the International Women's Association, and so on. 'Knit India Through Literature' is her mega-project involving intense sourcing, research and translations of literature from 18 Indian languages, with a mission to introduce Indians to other Indians through culture and literature.Rent Now