Roots and Meanderings Anthology of Selected Short Stories a wholesome package ranging from the joyful to the poignant to fond remembrance and perchance fulfillment.
Roots and Meanderings is a collection of short stories published as an e-book by Learning and Creativity – an online community of the literary minded. Learning and Creativity seems to be a fun forum bursting with lots of creative writing – from aspiring newbies, hobbyists, students, professionals through to published authors.
This 10 story collection is introduced by the Editor Antara Nanda Mondal as the winning entries in a competition. It’s a wholesome package ranging from the joyful to the poignant to fond remembrance and perchance fulfillment. The overt theme is love.
Apart from love in all forms and hues – memory of a dead significant other, parental love, a siblings protective love, unfulfilled love, a child’s worshipful love of the parent – there is a subtle karmic undertone in a number of the stories. A “what goes around comes around” style unfolding of events. There is a sense of inevitability in certain tales. The protagonists, as the authors who created them, come mostly from all walks of India’s urbanscape. An auto driver, a single mother, a child with special needs, school friends, college mates, Zamindars, rebels, orphaned kids, nosy neighbors, the cast is kaleidoscopic.
Kaartikeya Bajpai‘s Mirror Mirror On The Street starts off and reads like a mystery. One is left guessing as to what the young man walking around Goa is upto. Only after reading in full do you know that the masked glances cast in his direction were not of scorn but out of pity. Kaartikeya does bring the sights and sounds of Goa as well as the smells of a hospital alive here.
The helpless rage of the urban poor is well shown by Arunabh in AmbCa. Beyond rage, Rajender the hero has a burning desire to help the needy. This is a feel good story like no other. While some of the events in Rajender’s life seem like good fortune, he is a self made man who does his “lowly” job even after rising the top. And that is great.
Palak Singh‘s A Feeling Of Togetherness underlines something most people know but perhaps hesitate about. When in doubt – speak out. It could make you fall on your face- which people will forget after a while. Or it could make your life. Neatly done.
A boyfriend in the Armed services, parents against marriage and then a hiatus – the reader senses that there is some tragedy lurking around the corner in Shakun Narang‘s A New Leaf. But the way in which Shakun has built an entirely unexpected situation and given a twist is commendable. The easy manner in which the frame flips from flashback to present without a lag in narration is also praiseworthy.
B 47/3 Gulabganj (Shahana Roy) is a touching story. From a child’s point of view it shows how cynical and indifferent the world of adults is. The playtime at Gulabganj neighbourhood takes one back to the time when we played in the dust and entered the nearest house for a glass, no jug of water. You sense Anitha’s Amma is much more than a neighbour. It ends on a heartwarming note with the friends soon to reconnect.
The story that shook me up and made me take a break was Gitanjali Maria‘s Mom, For You And You Alone. To narrate from the first person, such a unique tale and make it seem as such a natural story takes special ability. Kudos to Gitanjali. A story, a lesson, a reminder to respect and salute our mothers and all mothers we know. Special.
Beena Raghavan’s My Elongated Shadow is unique in this collection in that it talks of a siblings protective love, which at first sight is misleading. It makes one reflect and introspect and feel thankful for life’s small mercies. It also makes ones heart go out to special children.
Sonal Agrawal‘s A Perfect Match starts off like a regular “Boy meets Girl” story. The twists and turns before the “they lived happily ever after” make the story noteworthy. Love manifests here through a sense of sacrifice, first on the part of Sanjana and thereafter by Sanjay. In “Ruhi”, we probably see the best “Support Role” in the book. Ruhi is the one who holds a mirror to the protagonist in her moments of wavering – understanding and kind yet firm, when there is a need to be. Nice characterization.
With the scorching summer, the Dubai returnee, the granite quarry and coffee with newspaper, Sunil Guri‘s The Summers I Remember has a rooted feel to peninsular India and specifically Andhra. The bus stop and cement bench evoke a more famous name from yesteryears. This is a hard, pragmatic, life’s lesson kind of story.
When The Bamboo Flowered (Paulami Dattagupta) – Binalakshmi (was this name chosen to recall someone in the public sphere?) is the protagonist in a Manipur village of this pre-Independence tale of forbidden love, elopement, vendetta, an old woman’s curse and a cataclysmic natural phenomenon that occurs once in decades . In a short story of less than 6 pages, Paulami has included all the above, spun a riveting and gripping narrative and still found space to include tender moments, giggles and a child’s craving for mangoes. Clearly one of the most creative efforts I have read in recent times.
All in all – this is a such an interesting collection and kudos to the team and contributors of Learning and Creativity for putting this collection together.
— Learning&Creativity (@LearnNCreate) February 16, 2015
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