Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Book Review: By the Sabarmati by Esther David

This book is a collection of twenty-short stories. These stories are real short and sad. A few minutes time is what you need to read each one of them but the emotions they invoke are deep. All of the stories are about the women who live around Sabarmati (in Gujarat). And these women live in poverty, and their daily lives revolve around making their ends meet, having food or cloth of their choice is a luxury for them. But they too are humans, failed love or death of near ones makes their lives unbearable along with the disappointments they need to face for being born as poor.

The first story ‘Father’ is about a daughter worrying about his father on the first day of her marriage. ‘Full Moon’ is a story of two friends, one of them getting killed for dowry and the other being haunted by the memory of her. ‘Zhunzhun’ is a lamb adopted by a poor family and the sisters getting drowned in an effort to save the lamb. ‘Tent of Bones’ is a story of a women and an aged bullock waiting for its death at the hands of a butcher. ‘The Charpoy’ is about a man living in the memory of his dead wife. ‘Homecoming’ is a story of a poor mother whose son grows to be a rich man but does not want to live with her mother. ‘Kurma Avatar’ is about the guests making the lives of their hosts a burden by adopting a tortoise as pet. All other stories are also taken from unique life experiences of those living an ordinary life. These are not the stories which are written for entertainment but to show the emotional side of those poor who had no better choices in leading their lives.

After reading this I realized that taking a walk in slums or where the poorer of poor live and getting to kow them better, one can come out with a bunch of stories like this Author had done. While putting them into words, author adds the ironies of life to them. These stories can make the reader sad but also opens them up to wider emotions making them temperamental at the end.

Esther David is a Jewish-Indian author, an artist and a sculptor. She lives in Ahmedabad, Gujarat. She has won Sahitya Akademi Award in 2010 for The Book of Rachel.