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Review Aju Mukophadyay

Review Aju Mukophadyay

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Published by Aju Aravind

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Published by: Aju Aravind on May 26, 2011
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Reviewed by: Dr. Aju Aravind Aju Mukhopadhaya. The Moments of Life: Short Stories. Mumbai: Frog Books, 2009. Pp.

145. Price: Rs. 195/- ISBN: 978-93-80154-06-0. Short stories are an excuse for Aju Mukhopadhaya to talk of life and relationships entrapped by time and silence. His, The Moments of Life: Short Stories, a compilation of 26 short stories, mostly set in Bengal and southern part of India, presents a picture of everyday life where “each individual relationship has a different hue” (79). The present collection begins with the story which has the same title as the book, recalls the life and experiences of Riki, a member of the suicide squad in Jaffna, who illegally enters Pondicherry. Riki, a victim of circumstances rather than choice, like Sri Aurobindo, realizes the futility of terrorism and turns to spirituality. Riki’s journey makes one realize the need for spiritual revival. The story also depicts the predicament of women like Riki and her sister who were “compelled to join the guerrilla forces” in Sri Lanka (11). The protagonists of his stories, like Gowri and Saheli are victims of various circumstances. While Gowri and her sister Latha in ‘The Phoney,’ is forced into prostitution “just four days after her manjal neer (puberty) ceremony” (41) by their mother, ‘The Cuckold’ tells the story of Saheli, who is forced to love Rangarajan by her spendthrift husband. Aju’s stories deal with the changing definition of values and a newer generation that tries to adopt borrowed ideas and practices, and shows the courage to walk against the established conventions of the day. In most of his stories, he raises the question of women who are forced to lead a life of servitude in the name of “tradition, norms and fear of society” (78). However, most of them succeed in breaking the shackles of tradition and norms. His characters like Lavanya, in ‘An Unknown Love,’ and Arpita, in ‘Discontentment,’ dares to walk against the trodden path. On the one hand we see characters like Lavanya who walks away freely from her husband and family when she rediscovers her love in Ranada, whom she once loved as a brother, and on the other hand we find women character like Arpita, who exhorts: “Try to live by your heart, not by the brain” (114). Most of his stories revolve around the life of the female protagonist, and some of them are so exuberant and diligent than their male counterparts that they win our admiration and adoration. The plot of some of his stories subtly raises questions on the sensitive issues like race, gender, unemployment, and caste. For instance his, ‘In Search of a Suitable Man Friend’ shows Angela, a westerner, who falls in love with a young black Indian customs officer

’ ‘The Law of Life. While stories like. The story shows the new Indian women who redefines the oriental concepts. ‘The Cuckold’ and ‘An Unknown Love’ deal with the predicaments of extramarital life. who spends her life in the memory of her husband. Most of the stories in this collection are about strange “relations between a man and a 2 . but because he could now spend the rest of his life with her. that enhances and disturbs. and exposes the “fables about the white races” (15). The irony of the story is that Gopalda’s joy exceeds all limits when he learns that his wife too has become a leprosy patient.’ subtly exposes the longing for the male child. the stories like ‘Slavery’ deals with changing equations within the family. the life of other characters. widow of an Army officer. His stories seem to suggest the disintegration of the joint family system as one of the causes for changing relationships.’ and ‘The White Bird And Its Black Shadow. ‘The Emigrant. His stories like ‘The Passport. not because he did not love her. and also reflects on the abject poverty that millions of Indians face. stories like. Mukhopadhyay.’ Some of the stories in the collection like ‘Dolls’ Family’ and ‘The White Bird And Its Black Shadow’ if read together yields a better understanding not only of the stories but of the complexities and changing ferments of life. But most of his stories end with a note of optimism and try to reinforce our belief in humanity.’ tells the story of Vinita Singh. who has become an outcaste in the society. His ‘The Law of Life’ depicts the sufferings of a leprosy patient. Most of the plots of his stories appear so real that they make one think of his/her own life and surroundings.’ ‘A Very Happy Journey. ‘Caught Like A Thief In The Night. On the one hand the compilation includes highly philosophical stories like ‘The Flame.’ It is interesting to note that some of his stories like ‘The Emigrant. gives a detailed description of nature in his stories like ‘The Crawler.’ ‘The Absconder’ and ‘The Last Fire’ deal with the theme of death.Subramanian.’ and ‘The Absconder’ are based on train journeys. Silence is a recurring theme in most of his stories. Gopalda. instead they show act as a catalyst.’ ‘The Crazy. While his stories like ‘The Last Fire’ deal with the father son relationship.’ is about the predicaments of the modern educated unemployed Indian middle class youth who is forced to migrate to different places in search of employment. ‘The Pride of a Woman. While his ‘Dolls Family. Mukhopadhyay’s.’ And on the other it experiments with newer ways of storytelling as in ‘Let Them Play For A While. But they never show death as an end.’ and ‘A Marathon Race’ reflect on issues like courting and dating whereas stories like ‘Discontentment’ deal with the theme of broken families.

Dhanbad 3 . The compilation will not only enlighten and entertain all kinds of readers but also holds immense potential for further studies. The plot of some of the stories like ‘A Marathon Race’ appears to be a bit dramatic. Indian School of Mines. Dept. Dr. and his characters are not escapist in nature but they face the realities of life with an iron fist. He displays great understanding of human emotions. of Humanities and Social Sciences.woman” in a world of complexities (78). Most of his characters appear to be simple but we find the wrinkles of life on their face which makes them complex. Aju Aravind Assistant Professor.

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