Deal Me In Short Story Reading Challenge – 2 of 52. I drew the K of Spades earlier and that corresponds to any short story by Rajesh Parameswaran. My list is here.
I ended up reading more than one story from the book I have borrowed from the library and might end up renewing. Here is my review of the story (and the book).
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My Thoughts: On the Book:
I am yet to read all the stories in this collection (have read a little more than half the stories at this point). But what I have read so far is well – nothing short of brilliant.
Rajesh is an executioner, like the title of this book. He slays you, the reader, with his brilliance. Darkness meets humor effortlessly, while language meets local lingo in a joyful dance. As you read the stories, you are in turn, in awe, in shock, disgusted, overwhelmed, but overall, more in love with the simple act of reading.
Each story stands on its own while a common thread of love (from dark and intense to sweet and tender) and something more (how the human and non-human mind works in different scenarios) make it a collection of wonderful related stories.
My Thoughts: On the Short Story Within:
For today’s review, I will pick – hmmmm, that is a tough choice indeed. But I decided on ‘Demons’.
Here is how it begins: “When the phone rang the night before Thanksgiving, Savitri Veeraghavan was doing her best to forget that her husband, Ravi, lay dead on the living room floor.”
In a moment of frustration after one of those seemingly ‘everyday arguments’ in a marriage of many years, she wonders how life would be without Ravi. She muses that she could live as she wanted, and with those thoughts, she hears (maybe) a whispered ‘Asthu Asthu May It Be’.
Back home, Savitri turns to the familiar comfort of cooking a simple dinner to help her deal with a dead husband on the floor. From the description, ‘tomatoes and lentils, and sputtering jeera(cumin) and mustard seeds and then a generous addition of okra’, she is making a delicious South Indian staple – sambar.
As she cooks, she remininsces. And the story goes back and forth between her flashbacks and the present, in a chaos of emotions.
How she deals with her own emotions, as well as with her neighbor who knocks her door to inquire about the car left running outside, her friends at the Thanksgiving Party the following day when she attends without Ravi (and their daughter), her daughter, and the situation takes up the rest of the story.
I need to say that you have to read it to find out 🙂 This read reminded me of another favorite short story – ‘Lamb to the Slaughter’ by Roald Dahl.
Rajesh’s ‘Demons’ will taunt and haunt you, as will the rest of the collection. The subtitle ‘Love Stories’ might seem misleading but that complex emotion runs through every story under its many different guises – from dark to light, and everything in between.
In a deliberately intended irony (I am guessing), Savitri is named after a character in Indian mythology who, with her persistence and devotion, ensures that Yama, the Hindu god of death, grants her many boons, including that of her husband’s life!
You can check out my previous posts for the month and for Ultimate Blog Challenge below. Yes, I know more than a few days are missing. This is day 15’s post.