A twisted assortment of tales
Author and civil servant Shubha Sarma's debut book Fly on the Wall and Other Stories examines different facets of life’s narrative with detachment, precision and compassion. A reading session and discussion based on the book was recently organised at Oxford Bookstore also an engaging session was conducted in presence of Jawhar Sircar, chairman Prasar Bharti, M Asaduddin, Head of the English Department, Jamia Millia Islamia and Yashodhara Mishra, guest editor, Indian Literature.
The subjects in the book range from up-market, urban settings to the depths of rural Odisha and areas of civil strife and deep social unrest. The narrative strings together anxious housewives, over-imaginative teenagers and men and women in the sunset of their lives. Much based on the experience of Sarma's services for more than a decade in the tribal districts of Odisha where she endeavoured to catalyze social change, empower women and address complex issues concerning left-wing extremism.?
Characters in the book are from all walks of life, there is Dipankar, yearning for Assam and returning to discover that he is a stranger in his own land and the beautiful Uma, mysteriously killed and awaiting justice; there is Arun craving parental affection and Shikha, defying social mores.
They are people one encounters everyday on the bus, the metro and at times, the mirror. Each story is uniquely crafted with an ingenuous sense of structural balance.
As a whole, this assortment of tales with a twist brings to life the realities and contradiction of India and makes it an enchanting collection of highly readable short stories.