For me, a good-old-collection of short stories is always a great idea. Be it a thriller, mystery or romance - I'm always up for a quick read, especially when travelling. Short stories make for a companion during travel without having to finish the entire book, in an attempt to know how the story ends.
One such book I recently read was the Modern Short Hindi Stories. Housing a beautiful collection of stories that takes us through various lives in the changing times in India, the book is a definite must-read.
What is interesting is the coming together of veterans of short story writing genre - such as Amarkant, Bhisham Sahni, Kamleshwar, Nirmal Varma and Mohan Rakesh - with the young writers. The fresh blend makes for an engaging read.
Over the years, India has gone through some drastic changes. Be it the social or cultural build-up of the society or the economic and infrastructural restructuring, India has come a long way.
On this journey, every nook and corner of the country has watched its life change. The people have seen building turn into sky scrappers and shops turn into malls. They have seen small towns turn into semi-urban areas and urban areas become concrete jungles. Peoples way of life has changed majorly.
But we still reminisce the good-old-days when our cities were not overwhelmingly big and a town was only big enough for everyone to know everyone else.
And the book takes you exactly there, through the years of changes in our country. The stories take you through the lives of various individuals, from the smallest towns in the country to the metro cities. Most characters in the story would remind you of someone you already know and leave you with a heavy feeling. The stories also leave you with small life lessons, that we often overlook in real life.
The stories span almost half a century of literary endeavour in the field of Hindi fiction.
Despite not having read the original Hindi scriptures, it is evident that the translators have been able to preserve and present the essence of the stories. The translators have done justice to the works of original writers