Tales of Sunshine is a collection of 10 short stories written by Sundari Venkatraman. This is the second book I read from Sundari. The first one being An Autograph For Anjali which was a mature love story with an murder thrown in. But Tales of Sunshine doesn’t have both these aspects. Sundari has given the book the tagline ‘Human Interest Stories’ more in the lines of Chicken Soup for the Soul series.
I am beginning to have a fetish for short stories. The last one ‘A Place of No Importance’ was short stories and the next one I am reading is also a set of short stories. I love to read short stories as they pack a punch in so few words. In about 2000-3000 words, a world is created with characters and their backstories, they encounter a difficulty and then in their characteristic nature they try to overcome the difficulty. But then, it does leave you thinking about it for a long time. I would love to see more short stories from the author as they are set in very familiar surroundings. Its an urban setting and the characters’ relationships are very Indian. The book is a light read. I completed it in one sitting.
Below are the list of stories –
- A Ray of Sunhshine – Raj is faced with laying off 12 people from his company. He feels very uncomfortable as he knows most of them personally. Disturbed, he confides in his pregnant wife, Natasha. Natasha comes up with a brilliant solution which elates him.
- A Promise Given – 25 year old Sachin is in drug rehabilitation at Dr. Bindra’s rehabilitation center. He is suffering withdrawal symptoms and is depressed. He meets 17-year old Aparna who becomes his best friend during his stay there. Aparna is pregnant and asks Sachin for a promise.
- Life goes out of control – Prema and Prashant want their daughter Preeti to become a CA and Engineer respectively. But Preeti, though brilliant in her studies, has some other plans. She finally puts her foot down.
- Rakesh Nath’s recovery – Rakesh Nath sees his wife and son Rajesh leaving his hospital room. Finding himself alone, Rakesh Nath walks out of the hospital ICU after a 3 month stay there. He is surprised at how much he has recovered. But, when he reaches home, he is in for a surprise.
- Exam Fever – Maya is worried about her daughter Renu’s approaching exams. She is panicking as there is no support from her husband Shyam. While blissfully unaware, Renu is watching Tom and Jerry. A very real life-like situation there.
- Until Death do us part – Rekha, a super successful 35-year old COO marries her next in command Sagar. Soon, she realizes that Sagar just wants to live off Rekha’s money and then the abuse begins and drives Rekha into a corner. Rekha finally makes up her mind and executes her plan.
- Is Grandpa Home ? – Anu is the daughter-in-law who cannot stand her father-in-law Ramachandran. Her husband Lalit is fed up with the way she treats his father. She even keeps their son Ansh away from his grandfather. The last straw is when she convinces Lalit to send his father to an old age home.
- Daydreaming Mercenary – Rita is a successful model earning loads of money. While her sister Reema is living off the success of the sister. She keeps asking for money and Rita is fed up. She discovers more about Reema when she follows her one day.
- Breaking free from the mould – Aditya and Kiara’s only son Aarush wants to pursue a career in writing. But Aditya’s mother, Gayatri is skeptical what with everyone chasing CA or Engineering or MBBS courses. She tries to influence her son to make Aarush see sense, while Kiara wants her son to pursue what his heart says.
- The Elephant in the room – Nandita and Shruti are best friends since school. Nandita belongs to a middle-class family while Shruti is rich. They go through life. Nandita feels that she is not achieving anything in life while Shruti is the one achieving everything under the sun and excelling in it. But, is it really so?
My favourite story was ‘Is Grandpa home?’. Simply because, this is a story no one has told. It is always mothers-in-law harassing the daughter-in-law and vice-versa while the diffident son is not interfering in anything. This was a good take.
I also liked ‘Breaking free from the mould’. It is in tune with today’s times. Its a tug-of-war between the old generation and new generation.
Sundari Venkatraman sent me the e-book in return for an honest review.