Book Review: Stories from Modern India

If we think about Indian writers, we hardly have a few good ones. Since most of them are regional writers, they get lost in the marketing glam and charm. But some readers always keep them alive in their conversations and thoughts. Suresh Kohli’s collection of Stories from Modern India is one such book that gets these regional and famous writers together, sharing their stories. A collection of short stories, Stories from Modern India is a read that you would love to keep around you.

A collection of short stories from practically every nook of India, Stories from Modern India includes stories from different aspects of our life; marital issues, love, psychology, politics etc. A translation of stories that occur from regional areas like Gujarat, Kannada, Telugu and Urdu, it’s a sheer joy to go through each one of these.

Out of the all the Stories from Modern India, here are some of my favorite ones. Starting with RK Narayan, my childhood story whisperer. In his story, I saw a personalized side of him, something that I never came across before in his writing. He shares his struggle with bureaucracy at the time when he was trying to get his novel published. How he dealt with Sarkari Babu’s who showed him the door to false promises from influential people. He looks back at all those memories and shares his experience with the readers, leaving an important message to never give up.

Another one that I loved from Stories from Modern India was the Care Taker by Padma Sachdeva, which is about an older ex-wife and present wife of a man. The complexities of the relationship is shown in such a manner that black and white do not exist, only grey remains. An area which is complicated, but sometimes always makes sense.

Another striking story one is from an equally famous and striking author. Ismat Chughtai shares a tale of a prostitute-turned -housewife, and how the new world is treating her. And the cherry on top for me was a tale from Bhishma Sahani, the acclaimed author of Tamas.

Picking up Modern Stories of India to read this month was a decision strictly made on the basis of availability of time I have left with me in November. And I must say, the metro rides and tiredness I shared with this book was all worth it. One of the best thing about Stories from Modern India is Suresh Kohli’s talent to find such amazing regional writers, whose writings most of us are either deprived of or genuinely ignore.

But then, this collection has a flaw, and it’s that this collection is not everybody’s cup of tea. Some of the stories may end abruptly, leaving a huge gap in the thinking and interpretation of the reader, even leaving them irritated. In a way, some of the stories bring down the readability quotient of the book.

But then if you leave out a few exceptions, Stories from Modern India makes up for a deep and thoughtful read. Each story has it’s own beauty and warmth from the particular region, making it much more special. So, you guys don’t have to think much before picking this one up.

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