Tag Archives: short stories

The Day Grandfather Tickled a Tiger by Ruskin Bond

the-day-grandfather-tickled-a-tiger-by-ruskin-bond Title: The Day Grandfather Tickled a Tiger
Author: Ruskin Bond
Publisher: Puffin Books
ISBN: 978-0143428732
Genre: Children’s Books
Pages: 64
Source: Publisher
Rating: 4 Stars

This is another title in the same Bond series – chapter books that is. The first one that I reviewed was “The Tree Lover”. This one as the title suggests is more on the funny side and was again, a breeze to read. Just that for this one, there were no watercolour illustrations so that was kind of disappointing. At the same time, the story is delightful (I had read it earlier) and this time it had me wondering if it actually happened or not.

“The Day Grandfather tickled a Tiger” is obviously again about Rusty’s grandfather – this time involving a tiger. I enjoyed this story a lot and also recalled that I had read it earlier but the illustrations by Viplov Singh helped enhance it. This one is a little longer than “The Tree Lover” so perhaps the older kids would enjoy it more, plus it is funny.

Ruskin Bond as I have said before has this uncanny ability to appeal to all age-groups. It doesn’t matter if you are his target audience, so to speak or not – I think he writes for everyone and that is the beauty of his writing. This is most certainly a solid reason to read him.

365 Stories: Day 12: Difficult Women by Roxane Gay

difficult-women-by-roxane-gay

After reading her book of essays, “Bad Feminist”, I knew I had to read more of Roxane Gay. There was no other option. A writer enslaves you and that’s it. You have to read everything by him or her. You don’t have a choice.

So I started reading her collection of stories (got an advanced copy) and one of those stories is the story of the day – “Difficult Women” (this also happens to be the titular story) – a tale of women – the mad kind, the crazy kind and the difficult kind.

This is a story of different women who are unnamed throughout the story and their lives – in vignettes of course but still cuts so deep and you can see what goes around you – you can see almost every woman you know in each of these women and that is heartbreaking.

I recommend you read everything by Roxane Gay.

The Legend of Lakshmi Prasad by Twinkle Khanna

the-legend-of-lakshmi-prasad-by-twinkle-khanna Title: The Legend of Lakshmi Prasad
Author: Twinkle Khanna
Publisher: Juggernaut Books
ISBN: 978-9386228055
Genre: Short Stories, Novella
Pages: 256
Source: Publisher
Rating: 5 Stars

I remember reading “Mrs Funnybones” last year and loving it to bits. I was floored by Twinkle Khanna’s writing and just couldn’t stop turning the pages. In fact, I finished the book in a couple of hours and the same happened while I was reading her second book “The Legend of Lakshmi Prasad” – a collection of three stories and a novella. It is fiction – some of it is inspired by real life as well, but the gravitas in these short stories is something else. They are not screaming for attention from the rooftop. They are subtle and graceful and extremely affable.

This collection of stories could take place anywhere. You could meet their characters while walking on the road. They are common people and some extraordinary things happen to them. This is one of the reasons I love fiction. Big things happen to so-called small people and Twinkle does a fantastic job of bringing it to life in the pages of her book. At the same time, before picking up this book, I was very skeptical of how she would be at writing fiction and lo behold, she surprised me. I was wrong to even be a bit cynical. The book is fantastic and I am not just saying this because I have loved “Mrs Funnybones” or because I think she is extremely hilarious.

My favourite story in the book of course is the one modelled after the sanitary man Arunachalam Muruganantham- the man who was solely driven to not only generating awareness about menstruation in rural India but also ensuring that the women there use sanitary pads that are hygienic and low-cost as well. I am stunned by what he has done, by what people like him do. I didn’t know of him earlier, I shall admit but after reading the short story I had to know more about him. He is a Padma Shri award winner for spreading awareness against traditional myths and practices around menstruation. Now this is the kind of action we need in the country.

At the same time, while reading this story, I firmly believe that all of us must talk of issues that people shirk from – in this case menstruation. Why don’t we talk of women’s health more often? Why don’t we have conversations around it? Feminism is not just meant for online discussions, I suppose and a lot of ground has to be covered and from that perspective, this collection sure does bring to light strong women, their way of life and the issues surrounding them.

While I absolutely loved, “The Sanitary Man from a Sacred Land” (which might I add was written with a very irreverent and at the same time controlled tone), I absolutely loved the story of the two sisters – Noni Appa and Binni. It is about finding love at any time and at any age. It is simple, sweet and will leave you with a wonderful aftertaste of belonging to someone. The fact that you are the master of your own life and can make choices, despite initial hiccups, being a woman in her late 60s amazed me. I felt for Noni Appa and I wish my mother would have remarried when she had the chance. We all need companions and nothing is truer than that.

I also enjoyed the other two in this collection. The titular tale is of a girl almost saving girls of a village and in the process saving a village and ends up a hero of her own life. Twinkle Khanna’s writing is breezy, profound and most interesting. This book is full of impact, grace, tenderness and relevant issues of our times. I would highly recommend it to one and all. Do go out there, read The Legend of Lakshmi Prasad, talk about it, and gift it to people you know and love.

American Housewife: Stories by Helen Ellis

American Housewife - Stories by Helen Ellis Title: American Housewife: Stories
Author: Helen Ellis
Publisher: Doubleday
ISBN: 978-0385541039
Genre: Short Stories, Literary Fiction
Pages: 208
Source: Publisher
Rating: 5 Stars

Imagine Desperate Housewives being written into a book – just a little funnier, sarcastic, edgy perhaps and with a dash of American angst, loneliness and the no-good housewife, trying to make something of herself. But the stories in Helen Ellis’s book “American Housewife” is not just about the average housewife, so don’t be fooled by the title. The book is about dreams gone wrong, frustrations dying to get a way out, of thwarted hopes and a lot of pointed commentaries on womanhood and the world around them today.

The stories range from the unique initiation ritual of a book club (the twist is there throughout the story and you can sense it) to the set of a rigged television show to the getaway car of a pageant princess – they are all unique and full of wit and tragedy.

I think for me reading this book felt like I could connect on so many levels – well not of being stuck in a marriage or being betrayed in a relationship, but just that I could relate to the women and the layers of intensity of emotions of every kind that Ellis draws up for this through the dozen stories.

What struck me the most while reading these stories was the tone and pace of each story and how each is different from the other, when it comes to those two parameters. Some stories are definitely sharper than the others, and some just jolt you off your daily existence to make you see how bizarre life can really be.

“American Housewife” is a brilliant, raw and real collection of stories that tells you a lot about women in general, only if you care to listen or in this case read. I would most certainly recommend it to every one out there. Waiting for her next!

Eros Unbound by Anais Nin

Eros Unbound by Anais Nin Title: Eros Unbound
Author: Anais Nin
Publisher: Penguin books
ISBN: 9780141032924
Genre: Erotica, Literary Fiction, Short Stories
Pages: 106
Source: Personal Copy
Rating: 5/5

Eros Unbound by Anais Nin.

Thank God for writers like Anais Nin, whose books have been around way before the “new-age” so-called erotic writers cropped up. Anais Nin’s erotica writing is not just something else but it still continues to enthrall and titillate readers’ world over.

“Eros Unbound” is just a sneak peek into her writing. There is a large body of work, which I would urge everyone to explore if you really want to know what sensuous writing can do to you. At the same time, Nin’s writing is closely linked to the facets of love and spirituality (not the one attributed to religion in any way), which is what makes it even more believable.

The book consists of eight stories and each one but of course has to have a generous measure of sex, moans and pleasure as its core. From a naïve model who slowly discovers her sexuality to an erotic moonlight encounter on a beach, Anais’s writing is stark, naked and for all to see, just like the person she was.

What I think will surprise most first-timers to her writing is that she was most certainly way ahead of her times. Even now, at least in a country like India, we are not encouraged to speak of our innermost desires, whereas not only did she speak of them and write about them, but also lived a free and most satisfying life.

People who I interact with (the gay men that is) from a sexual standpoint; seem to think I am all about sex and horny most of the time. I take that as a compliment. The way I look at it is that I am living a life that is not tinged with hypocrisy and I know what I want – in and outside of the four-poster, so that’s that.

“Eros Unbound” is a great starting point if you haven’t read anything by Nin and I assure you that you will be hooked to her writing.