Short stories are tricky. Some great masters of the craft who perfected the art of long novels, didn’t dare to go near short stories. But whoever mastered the art of short stories are seduced by the brevity of it and never moved away from it though they had occasional stint at long novels. This is particularly true in contemporary Tamil literature scene. Gone are the days when we used to wait for the weeklies and monthly magazines to read a short story of favorite writer. In this age of Internet, I have found few gems who have the ability to score points in short stories.
Krupa is one such writer. I was excited when she announced that she was releasing her short story anthology. It was about time. Here is a small review of her collection of short stories A Score & Four, Vignettes from Everyday life.
There are 24 short stories. Some were really short stories. But the after taste those stories left were sweeter, so no complaints there. Krupa, as she mentions in her Author’s note, had observed around her and found the stories, which many don’t care to notice or ponder about. I feel that was one of the strengths of the book. These are stories that may not have necessarily happened to the author, or she had come across from acquaintances. The people in her stories walk alongside as you walk in the market, bargaining with the vendor, or coughing in the hospital waiting room as you come out of consultation room, or the two women who are having an animated conversation in a bus stop as you observe from your window seat. Most of us, won’t give a second thought about those two lines we heard on the passing. But clearly Krupa does and it shows in most of the stories.
There are two themes which I found recurring in the anthology but spaced well. It is about a helpless person who had had a life changing accident or a couple who meet by the play of fate. Krupa seems to be in home writing these set ups as it brings tears, at least a ‘tch tch’ or warms our heart up at the end of the story.
Be it the first story of the collection “The Spider’s Web” where she gave equal importance to the elder daughter in law Subhadhra or fleshing out of the daughter-in-law and mother-in-law characters in story “The Married Man’s Bachelor Party”, Krupa shows a lot of promise.
Not all the stories will strike a chord with you but there are stories for everyone in the book. I personally liked, The Spider’s web, The kindred Soul, First Ever Valentine’s day, Perfect and The Bride and the Bathroom.
There were stories which I didn’t want to end where it ended, I was left wanting more either because of the beauty of the prose or wanting a closure that I liked. Like, That Late Night, The Married Man’s Bachelor Party and Kanna, Mere Pyar.
There were stories which didn’t strike a chord with me, because it looked like it was written for certain events that happened in real life, like, The pouch of silver coins.
Almost all the stories have a happy warm ending. We are well aware that this may not happen in real life. But I think that is the beauty of a writer, make the improbable, possible and leave us with a smile on our face. I would love to read more of Krupa.
A big kudos to each and everyone involved in bringing this book out.
You can buy the book here.