“Courage is not in being fearless but in being brave even when you are scared” and many other such excellent thoughts have been caged in this wonderful book. I literally felt gone were the days when good short stories, preferably with morals made up for a sizable portion of the day till I stumbled upon this beautiful collection of short stories. From the deep seated desire for the ancient rural bliss in this modernizing world captured in the story, ‘A Bullock Cart in Badaltapur’ to the advent of the social networking world with all their pros and cons beautifully explained in ‘Netpals Dot Com’, the book has it all. The book has a social rationale as well, as it gives an affirmative answer to the question of India versus the Western world, by giving an insightful view of both the worlds, the aftermaths of polluting of the dreams of a river and the slaughter of innocent animals. ‘The Gonzalves Gold’ exuberantly describes the life on a beach and a hope of finding lost treasure, a lost lifestyle. The stories ‘Dr. Thankur’ and ‘Design to Win’ touch the emotional chord by how the life can be mended after what appears to be the end of the world, low grades and a suicide attempt. If a family could not adopt a little baby who it so keenly desired to, can’t they adopt a grandparent? A little girl wonders if her parents actually wanted a son in her place. A teacher does not mind being called a bloodhound, just to ensure history does not repeat itself. A young AIDS patient hopes to make the others who suffer like him, happy. A sudden surprise in a time when almost all was over and a sound lecture from the mother was inevitable. A battle against the prevalent caste system, just to get a pot of water. A couple of boys taking a vow that they would behave themselves henceforth. These are some of the brilliant themes that are portrayed by the book.
A must read for everyone young or old. It can also make a perfect gift, a gift of love.
The hope remains. As the last line of the book goes: “One day, Chinnamma,” she thought as she walked into the cool moonrise, “you will hand over a pot to me. One woman to the other. Our hearts have met. Our hand too will meet.”