Express press service
Over the past two years the meaning of loss has changed drastically, or maybe more people have become familiar with it, which is why it seems like there probably couldn’t have been a better time than post-pandemic world to read Keki N ‘Going: Stories of Kinship’ by Daruwalla. The little red book of short stories dealing with the notion of loss, especially that of a family member, evokes a deep pain that we all now know too well.
Daruwalla, however, has expanded the scope of loss in this collection. It makes the reader wonder––when do you really lose a loved one? Is death always, and the only reason it happens?
In this book, there is the story of a couple who loses their son (and finds him after years) after one day he goes missing; and another couple who lose their daughter while she lives with them in the same house, but only in her physical presence. It’s the element of novelty that each story brings to the idea of losing a loved one that is most intriguing in this collection.
How many ways are there to lose someone? We are wondering. The stories almost force readers to introspect and dive deep into their own relationships, and resolve to work things out. Daruwalla, being the good storyteller that he is, manages to give us, in the midst of what seems to be a dark subject, moments of mystery, thrill, hope, heartbreak and tears, all in 130 pages filled with with lucid and engaging writing. to the very last page.
But what particularly stands out about this collection is the visual imagery that brings to life the places – real and imagined, and across different timelines – where the stories unfold. For example, in ‘Bird Island’ he writes: “Suddenly they saw the whole island loom up before them, as if a bird god had summoned the whole kingdom of waterfowl into the heavens… birds were wet. The light flickered as it landed on their backs and then slid off, as if sending off shards of galvanized steel.
All three were stunned by the scene, that vast trellis of wings advancing to the rhythm of the cacophony of bird calls. In ‘Going’ he wrote: “As the rains cleared the estate, they seemed to burst into birdsong. We even heard the peacocks, their high, short, throaty cries rising in rising notes… the chatterers found their voices and resumed their stealthy pecking, and a cool mist rose from the ground, thin and wispy , but tangible as silver foil.
The only thing that doesn’t seem to work for this book sometimes is the language, which sometimes takes an overly philosophical path like in ‘The Long Night of the Bhikshu’ and ‘Daughter’, but, the heart of this little red book news is exactly where it should be – the overriding need of humans to cling to the relationships they hold dear until the very end.
Going: Stories of Kinship
By: Keki N Daruwalla
Publisher: Speaking Tiger
Price: Rs 499