Love and acceptance are best learned at an early age. As conversations around gender identity and the LGBTQ+ community take centre stage it’s important for families to have conversations around the different kinds of love. Ritu weds Chandani by Ameya Narvankar (Puffin) is an apt tool to broach the conversation!
Targeted at the 5-7 years age group, the book provides a gentle introduction to slide into conversations that many parents want to have but don’t know how to.
The story starts off by young Ayesha getting ready to attend her cousins wedding. She is excited to attend Ritu’s wedding and dance at the baraat ceremony! Ritu would be the first girl in the family to lead her own baaraat. Ritu is marrying Chandani.
But not everyone is happy about that. Some have even vowed to stop the celebrations- and they do indeed try to. This story chronicles how Ayesha tries to save her cousin’s big day in face of staunch opposition.
Despite the opposition, it is heartwarming to see how some sections of the family support the brides to be. As the brides deck up in traditional splendour, the supportive families do their best to make this a memorable day. But, there are always trouble makers around, aren’t there?
“People don’t understand their love” say Ayesha’s parents as they try to explain the situation to Ayesha. The illustrations capture the nuances of the difficulties faced by members of the LGBTQ community to stand up against prejudice and bigotry. Love is central to the story. Ayesha’s love for her cousin and her wanting to celebrate the marriage in happiness is a crucial thread as much as Ritu and Chandni’s love for each other in face of opposition is.
Ritu weds Chandani celebrates the power of young voices and sends out a strong message that “Some people fail to understand that there can be different kinds of love. As long as two people love each other, their gender should not stop them from being together”.