Books

'Yeh Dil Hai Ki Chor Darwaza': Kinshuk Gupta's Powerful Hindi Debut With Queer Love Stories

It has been discussed as one of the first short-story collections on queer themes in Hindi literature, and must be appreciated for trying to initiate a discussion on gender and sexuality.

Vani Prakashan Group
Cover of 'Yeh Dil Hai Ki Chor Darwaza' Photo: Vani Prakashan Group
info_icon

Yeh Dil Hai Ki Chor Darwaza by Kinshuk Gupta

Published by Vani Prakashan

Kinshuk Gupta is a truly bilingual writer. I have enjoyed his poems and short stories in English and his short story collection Yeh Dil Hai Ki Chor Darwaza is also brilliant. It has been said of writers who work with two or more languages, that they may find any one language, by itself, insufficient. The balance they maintain, by letting languages and their structures support each other, is one of the delights of multilingual writers. Gupta’s Hindi, in this collection, is light, fluid and highly contextual. His characters are urban, middle class, and speak a Hindi filled with English words and phraseology. The third-person narrator does the same. It’s fun, this fluidity and gentle disregard for convention, in a set of stories mostly about queer love. 

All the stories do not have the same depth and some get very close to literary activism, but when Gupta works with complex emotions, he does very well. In ‘Bimar shaamon ko jugnuon ki talash’, for example, a son and a daughter get tested to donate a kidney to their ailing father. The daughter, who is about to get married, is a match, but her in-laws are not comfortable with the organ donation. Her parents sympathize with the girl’s would-be in-laws. The son has been a dumping ground for his father’s aspirations and holds a strong grudge against him. However, when his body starts failing, the son understands ‘…for the first time the difference between someone dying and one’s own father dying.’ He decides to sleep with a sleazy film producer for the money. In ‘Sushi Girl’ an innocent young woman discovers that her husband and his friend are having an affair in her own house and confronts the latter with sexual harassment. 

My favourite story in the collection is ‘Hamari hiss eke aadhe-adhure chand’, a touching story told in first-person, by a child dying of leukemia. It is a story of a home going through heartbreak, while having to confront the realities of middle-class existence - deciding whether to sacrifice the needs of the other child to meet the medical costs of the dying child etc. Gupta’s own training as a medical doctor, shared by many of his characters, allows him to amplify the heartbreak and makes us wonder how many of these stories are drawn from experience.

Yeh Dil Hai Ki Chor Darwaza has been discussed as one of the first short-story collections on queer themes in Hindi literature, and must be appreciated for trying to initiate a discussion on gender and sexuality. The issues addressed in these stories are more varied though. Gupta’s characters deal with identity assertion, complex family dynamics, unachievable expectations, generational trauma, body dysmorphia etc. and barely come out whole. Yeh Dil Hai Ki Chor Darwaza is a powerful debut of a brave, thoughtful and highly original voice. 

Shalim M Hussain is the Head of the Department of English at Government Model College, Borkhola

Advertisement

Advertisement

Advertisement

Advertisement

Advertisement