Once upon a time, our grandmothers and in my case, my mother has told me many stories related to our gods and goddesses. Well, if we have 33 crore of them, there is never a dearth of stories. Being mythology, I love the story within a story construct. Of course, the highlight of such stories is of how good overcomes evil, always. Those stories which we listened to at nights surrounded by oil-lamps and just the winds from the swaying coconut trees, gave us vivid imaginations. Many of the stories are just oral stories moving on from generation to generation with an added note there and a snip here. This makes the stories more relevant for the current generation.
Of course, now we have serials which show these stories as episodes which are dragged to weeks beyond recognition. But, the stories are a treasure trove of learnings.
In Preetha Kannan’s book, Shiva in the City of Nectar, she has put in 54 short stories. They are related to the city of Madurai which literally translated means the ‘City of Nectar’.
Please forgive my ignorance. I knew that Madurai has the famous Meenakshi temple. I had also seen images of the same and want to visit the place. After reading this book, I want to visit Madurai and look for all the places and objects mentioned in the book. These stories dig deeper into the mythological history of the place. The temple is full of folklores which add to the aura of the temple. Such story books abound in regional languages but difficult to find them in English. The stories need to be read sequentially . Though the stories are not connected, the time period is sequential. It is also beautifully told by the author with a direct, story-telling way. The book does not have a preachy or holier than thou tone. The book is also edited well and you will not find the typical errors which is becoming a norm in Indian books. Lovely book to read aloud to your children. Continue reading
The Dove’s Lament is a book which leaves us a bit uncomfortable. It hits you right where it should, in the heart. The book is a collection of short stories. The book has a theme. It is about civil wars and genocides.
Each story in the book brings to life the statistics or headlines which we read in the news. It brings to life how common people, most of them defenceless, have been affected because of a war which they neither endorse nor care for.
A war has no real winners. In the Mahabharata, the Pandavas have won the war. They lose all their sons including Ghatotkacha, Abhimanyu, Aravan. There is the young pregnant widow of Abhimanyu, Uttara. They have to kill their teacher Dronacharya, Bhishma, Karna and many more, But, they have to live with the despair of its subjects who have lost their loved ones. They are pained by the sight of endless destruction and the sounds of mournings and wailings, of the lines of young widows in white clothes. They inherit a city which is soulless which is merely existing and not living. So, who were the real winners. The war was grand, but everyone is a loser. Continue reading
This is a first time for me at the #AtoZChallenge. I have been reading up on all the fun had by bloggers in the past years and their excitement is infectious. One of the suggestions they have given is to have a theme. I have been googling, looking up on old posts and everywhere for themes. But finally, I have decided to challenge myself further.
To keep life simpler in April, my theme is going to be a series of short fiction stories of 100-150 words having two primary characters.