Traversing through unexplored paths
A collection of ten short stories – one both universal in canvas yet decidedly ethnic in fabric, 'The sacred sorrow of sparrows', authored by Siddharth Dasgupta and published by Niyogi Books examines the lives of an Afghan baker, a Parsi exile, a north Indian qawwali singer, and a Lebanese mystic, amongst several others. Traversing cities such as Lucknow, Puna, Bombay, Dubai, Tokyo, Istanbul and Isfahan, this collection dips into cities and places not often explored in novels and short-story collection narratives.
The book which was launched in the presence of poet and novelist Pervin Saket, filmmaker and screenwriter Shikha Makan and publisher of the book Trisha De Niyogi has an eclectic assortment of characters for readers to explore.
During the launch, Pervin Saket shared her thoughts about the book as she found herself deeply immersed in the collection's richly textured canvas of characters and cities. She noted, "There is a tone and cadence to Siddharth's writing that is nothing short of hypnotic. The words refuse to let go. This poignant, evocative and poetic collection is one reader will find themselves revisiting often, on their own journeys through life and love."
Similar feelings were also shared by filmmaker Shikha Makan as she commented on how the stories inhabited a sensual collage of memory, nostalgia and love. She quoted, "There is a potent beauty to the writing. Even loss and longing have the power to heal in Siddharth's hands. This is a definite read to reflect and absorb the beauty and complexities of our lives."
The author being asked on his literary motivations, he cited "Travel and the deep bliss of fresh horizons have acted as instigators to many of the stories, while the characters are an amalgamation of reality, fragments, and whispers".
Through ten stories and ten main protagonists, this book paints a portrait of the universal emotion that strikes the deepest and lingers the longest – sorrow. A nuanced narrative of the eternal human existence, this collection embraces light, laughter, hope, and that silently pulsating craving called love, delivering a communal meditation on mortal failings and human persistence. The stories
traverse the length and breadth of the world picking up a train of melody from the sonorous sound of the Bosphorus to the resounding refrain of the Qawwali, from the quiet streets of Isfahan to a crowded city in Japan, from two lovers fraught with desire in Bombay to one man's spiritual awakening in Lebanon.
Each story, mired by the undercurrent of simple occurrences and profound epiphanies, also forms an unwitting part of a Sufi's journey as he navigates the world in his mystic inquiry of the unknown.