February 14, 2020
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Summer Blossoms

Good reading for long summer afternoons

Summer Blossoms
A Storehouse Of Tales—Contemporary Indian Woman Writers
By Jehanara Wasi
Srishti Publishers Rs:195; Pages 200
NO crashingly epic storylines and starburst imagination. Instead, small quiet stories of tentative yet deep observation, told as profoundly and as unpretentiously as only women can. We who have seen life form and grow in our own bodies are outrageously prosaic. We know that god doesn’t roar, frighteningly far away. He and the creative imagination that reaches for him, exists and breathes in everyday dramas and chores. A child falls in love with a fig tree in Sukrita Paul Kumar’s tragic Fig Blossom, a Delhi yuppie discovers The Meaning of Life in Hardwar in Namita Gokhale’s satirical Omens, Sacred and Profane and a little boy skips along to the outhouse of servants in Shama Futehally’s heartbreaking Jani’s Morning. Eternity in a grain of sand and splendour in the grass! In Madhu Kishwar’s Twenty or Twenty Five, the relationship between memsahib and maid becomes a glimpse into the urban economy. In Bulbul Sharma’s Anadi’s Journey, the now fashionable discourse of exile is made so much simpler and more tremulous in a longing for Bishtupur.

Perhaps the only fault here is one of production. If only the authors’ names had accompanied the list of contents, if the chapters between fiction and non-fiction been better organised and flagged and some attention paid to the theme and structure of the stories. But it’s still good reading for long summer afternoons.

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