When you have 12 short stories picked from 400 entries for a book, you expect a good read. She Writes asked budding women writers to develop a storyline around three categories and quotes: Growing Up in India — ‘Experience is the name every one gives to their mistakes’ (Oscar Wilde); Woman in the City — ‘Frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn’ (Gone With the Wind), and The Man in my Life — ‘Being with him made her feel as though her soul had escaped from the narrow confines of her island country into the vast, extravagant spaces of his’ (The God of Small Things).
Authors Anisha Bhaduri
Each story in the book taps into an unusual aspect of relationships, emotions and drama that take control over women’s lives. She may be anyone — a docile, newly-wed Bengali wife, a simple girl born to middle class parents in Guwahati, or a nun in the monastry in Dewachen, Sikkim.
In the first story, Other People’s Lives by Anisha Bhaduri, for instance, Konika, a newly wed Bengali bride and her middleclass husband Amit, end up at the coffee table of an older couple Rohini and Pratik. While Rohini consciously unwraps her good fortune in the presence of the less-fortunate Bengalis, Konika realises the beauty of her simple life through spicy green chillies and bland conversations.
The Tourist, one of my favourites, is a short-lived love story. Having lived in the UK since the age of 12, Michele forcibly undertakes a long journey to north Calcutta with her mother. Her life changes when she meets Saurav, a local doctor. They travel to the Sundarbans, where Michele crosses the fine line between friendship and love. A day before she leaves for the UK, she visits his home and comes face to face with a reality that rather abruptly ends the story. Kolkata-based writer Jyotsna Jha touches the ebb and flow of emotions women manage to experience in a moment.
In Mantras of Love, by Yishey Doma —who is based in Gangtok and works as a copy editor for the Sikkim Express — Yangchen, a nun, and Philip, a photographer from New York, find love in the hills during a trek to Dzongri.
I read the book in over two days, during train rides, while being nudged around the bustling train compartment. Pick up this book on a lazy afternoon. It will not let you down; but transform you into a cozy cocoon of heartfelt stories.
Published by Random House India