Tag Archives: day 10

365 Stories: Day 10: By the Grace of God (Allah ka Fazl) by Ismat Chughtai


I remember being fascinated by watching The Quilt being performed by Naseeruddin Shah’s theatre troupe Motley. I remember watching Chughtai’s four short stories being performed on stage. That was the day I was introduced to her writing.

The story read today (the 10th of January 2016) was Allah Ka Fazl, translated by Syeda S. Hameed. I know it is not one of her better-known works, but this is what I was aiming for. This story is about a mother, a daughter who is married to an older man – almost 65 and she cannot produce a child, an aunt (friend of the mother’s) who wants to help by getting her married to someone else she knows and what comes of it all in the end.

Chughtai’s stories are all about women, their issues and the ferocity with which they deal with them. Even in that time and age, I guess women were more liberated than they are today. True-blue feminists with issues to target bang-on seemed to be the order of the day. Anyhow, this story is superb. You might be able to predict the end, as you go along, but worth every turn of the page.


387 Short Stories: Day 10: Story 10: A Happy Birthday by Bernard MacLaverty

Title: A Happy Birthday
Author: Bernard MacLaverty
Taken from: Collected Stories

Bernard MacLaverty is not well known in India. In fact, I do not even know how many people would have heard of him at all. I remember falling in love with his writing when I read, “Grace Notes” which was also shortlisted for the Booker Prize in 1997. So, today I picked a story from his collected stories titled, “A Happy Birthday”.

Collected Stories

The story is set in Ireland. His stories are domestic and to me that works beautifully where he imagines them and comes from. Sammy is unemployed. He spends the entire day in the library reading, waiting for something to come along. That is the idea. His mother is not aware of this. That is another layer to the story. In about less than four pages, MacLaverty tells us what he has to with great sensitivity and restraint. I am glad I read this today. Short, full of pathos, confusion and life.