Stories have held my fancy ever since I was a child. As I grew up, reading got me to many more. Each came with its own set of questions, the characters, their motive, how each writer thought and that fascination caught on. I came across translated short stories from different languages spread across in India. As I read through, details like the names, the tone, the description of the dresses, the variety, the setting, the language of each of these spoke volumes about the Indian culture and its vibrance. More importantly, this selection of stories, by and large, spoke about the social stigmas. This to me is an eye-opener for the perspectives that it brought to the table. The various sides to one happening, the authentic reactions of characters make it as human as possible. If you haven’t read any of these, you are in for a treat.
TAMIL: IN A FOREST, A DEER BY AMBAI
Viewing a social stigma through a child’s eye is an eye-opener to a lot of things we as a society impose on others. Despite being from a child’s point of view, the raw expression of emotions that a ‘childless’ woman face makes the readers think. If you are someone who simply cannot resist beautiful narrations and classy metaphors, you should pick this story.
KANNADA: MOUNI BY U R ANANTHAMURTHY
Set in a village of Karnataka, the most striking factor of the story is how the readers’ mind succumbs to shading of the characters as good and bad with few open-ended cues. Through the course of the story, the open ends are tied back together and the reader realizes the impact of judging too soon. If you want to surprise yourself, then you should pick this book.
RAJASTHANI: COUNTLESS HITLERS BY VIJAYDAN DETHA
Rajasthan, a land of brave men, the Rajput pride. The story echoes of the pride these men uphold, the thirst to prove themselves. The constant vibrations of bravado reverberate throughout the story. If you are someone who wants to know about the male ego sans woman being involved, this is your pick
TELEGU: THE MAN WHO SAW GOD BY D B G TILAK
Societies have its way of preserving the prescribed way of life, weeding out anything out of its perception of ‘normalcy’. Taking up multiple social stigmas, this story plows its way through the life of ‘beneficial’ outcast, the ugly face of a community, and the level where ‘God’ pulled into the dirt every time. Read if you can empathize about an outcast and realities of their lives.
MARATHI: GOLD FROM GRAVE BY ANNA BHAU SATHE
There is a motivation for every action anyone does, while poverty and hunger top the list. This story is about one such person who takes steps to make his ends meet, but his actions have consequences. If you want to read about those realities of people who leave their villages and make it to the urban to sustain themselves, this should be your pick.
PUNJABI: STENCH OF KEROSENE BY AMRITA PRITAM
A tragic love story that circulates around couples without children. Simple but it breaks your heart looking at the hopelessness that surrounds this story. This story brings the ground reality to the stigmas and reactions of everyone involved in it.
ORIYA: THE SOMERSAULT BY GOPINATH MOHANTY
Orissa, place know for sun temple, and floods. What happens when someone puts Orissa on the map. That person becomes a celebrity on a fragile stand, a pressure to perform, a need to do something to retain that status and the love. We have seen many players, actors, novelists succumb to this pressure, and despite their best efforts and expectational imbalance, they fail. Read to know the perspectives of a reluctant celebrity from the state of Orissa.
MALAYALAM: THE BLUE LIGHT BY VIKOM MUHAMMAD BASHEER
Kerala, many know it to be God’s own country. They also have a variety of paran
ormal elements in their stories. As the story sets a pace, it gets interesting, wait until the end and you would come out smiling. If you like stories that resonate paranormal happenings, then you have your pick here.
HINDI: ‘KAFAN’ BY MUNSHI PREMCHAND
‘Marriage will make him realize his responsibilities’ a common expression. What happens if the ‘man’ does not step up to any responsibilities? Is the task of a woman to discipline her husband? If she fails who is to pay the price? If these questions intrigue you, you should pick up this story.
BENGALI: THE HUNGER OF STONES BY RABINDRANATH TAGORE
Saving one of the best for last – Rabindranath Tagore. This story leaves you for wanting more, that marks an amazing story. It is simple, happens in a short span of time, waiting for trains to be pulled over. Imaginations run amok, curiosity urges you to get the story complete. Pick if you like open-ended stories.