By Sakshi Selvanathan
Upon initial contact between the book and my hand, it dawned on me that ‘Tik Tik’ would prove a compelling read. I was also cognizant of the fact that, as a dog-lover myself, this story was going to rend my heart in two and provoke the waterworks to boot. Regardless, Tik Tik was more than just a literary rendition of the near-ubiquitous boy/girl-gets-dog-and-becomes-lifelong-friends trope – that is, not to make the unforgivable proclamation that the world needs less of it, when it – in today’s COVID-19 reality – could do with more of it. However, ‘Tik Tik’ went further: within its mere 100 pages, it spoke volumes of that timeless tale of love and courage (or more precisely put, canine courage), and the tremendous impact it had, and continues to have, upon the lives of normal people.
With the objective of lending the story a highly personal touch, the author has written the book in the viewpoint of the furry protagonist, Simbutu, himself – whose name has been lovingly abbreviated to ‘Simbu’ by his human Dad – and is one that encapsulates a story which spans the course of the canine’s lifetime. Indeed, every significant moment in his eventful life is documented in this spurring tale: from the moment he was introduced to his owner as a puppy (on a day where the sun seemed to shine brighter than usual) to the time he met with a fateful accident and through excruciating pain, gazed at his adopted father with tear-filled eyes.
It is through each stage of his life, that Simbu recounts life lessons that prove invaluable to human lives as well – indeed, the addition of the subtitle, ‘A furry friend’s guide to a happy life’ has not been incorporated into the beautiful book cover for the sake of embellishment alone. Each significant incident that transpired in the life of Simbu, encompassing even the most trivial yet character-moulding ones like the challenging feat of climbing up the house stairs as a mere puppy, has been punctuated with an illuminating realization of his own concoction: be it the crucial need for curiosity in life, the need to be resilient in the face of adversity and the need for the support of other people. Among the many maxims of this floppy-eared hero however, was one that leapt out to me immediately: the indubitably essential need to be optimistic in life’s darkest moments.
In fact, it is in this reviewer’s opinion that the theme of optimism is rife throughout Tik Tik: it is one that seeps from the thoughts of the dog from the moment he first steps ‘paw’ into his forever home, to the final battle with his injuries. In fact, one of the most intriguing revelations of the story early on itself is that Simbu was not an inherently pessimistic character at all, but became one who learnt to be more optimistic and grateful for life and its eccentricities in the end. Alternatively put, he learns to be more appreciative, and thereby content, till even in his last moments, he is not weighed down by regrets or what-ifs, but is at peace to have lived a full life and know that despite its sorrows, it was also one abundant in love and joy.
Our View on the Cover:
Strewn across a fiery sunset sky, dark silhouettes of two humans and a dog adorn the cover of this book: the placement of the silhouettes, with that of the dog in front and gazing upon the human couple in the distance, is suggestive of the fact that the story is written in the viewpoint of the furry protagonist himself.
Simbutu, his human parents ‘Dad’ and ‘Mom’, Spookgny his mate.
The book is written in simple prose but smattered between the numerous textualized life lessons are photos of the canine protagonist himself – peering into the camera lens with soulful, golden-brown eyes that seem capable of boring into one’s own soul. The book is very comprehensive and motivating, and is one that is best consumed with a coffee mug in hand, its handle only to be relinquished to pat your own canine (or feline) on the head every now and then if you have been tasked with the responsibility of parenting one! Think of the story as a literary teachable moment for all who read it: everybody – regardless of race, age, creed or colour – can benefit from its exhortations.
Who can read:
While anyone can, and should be encouraged, to read this book, it is perfect for all dog-lovers – and even cat-lovers willing to give pooch-love a go!
Our final verdict:
All in all, ‘Tik Tik’ was a motivational, delightful read – a constant reminder to everyone that happiness is a state of mind, and is not elusive in life as we are wont to think.
|Title||Tik Tik: Tomorrow Was Never Promised|
|The Asian Review Rating||8.5 out of 10|