Growing up in a pandemic can be hard on children, making them think beyond the usual suspects: games and books. Indeed, a 12-year-old resident of Bengaluru has expressed her thoughts and feelings in an anthology of poems published in March. Veruschka Pandey’s anthology is titled Tween Twilight – A Symphony of Poems, and has 30 poems that touch upon racism, body image issues, ableism, conservation, poverty and Covid superheroes. She started writing them during the lockdown in March last year, and while they have a child-like quality, Veruschka raises questions that should make us all think about the world we live in. Writing has always been her strength, says Veruschka, who is the daughter of IAS officer Pankaj Kumar Pandey.
“These poems are my innermost thoughts on issues around us. Words hold a lot of power. It can help or hurt people. I wanted to address real-world problems with my words,” says Veruschka, sounding wiser than her 12 years. From reaching out to the publisher for designing the book to getting the illustrations done, she marched her way through it all by herself. Her parents are surprised at the rapid rate at which her interests and thoughts are translating into literature at a very early stage.
But I am sure that I will continue to help people around me, either through writing or actions,” says the tween poet. She has decided to donate the proceeds of the book – she’s already sold 200 copies – towards relief through the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF). “Many children around the globe lack basic necessities. So, I decided to give the proceeds to charity,” says Pandey.