Short stories are generally not very popular among readers of the day because of many reasons. However, the primary reason is that the authors are not usually able to produce enchanting, gripping and sensible short stories that could keep the readers intact throughout a collection. The tradition of short stories in India could not continue, therefore, with the same intensity as it was thriving at a time, 2-3 decades ago. Well, at times, there are authors who are able to produce something in this genre that can be read, enjoyed and recommended as well. Today, I am recommending a short story collection written by Biswajit Banerjee – Happimess. You can easily notice the pun in the title and might expect something as well.
The readers who have read established authors like Thomas Hardy and Kafka might know that short stories are not always happy-ending, easy-going and smooth. Life is not like that as well. And the author here has tried to do the same thing. He has tried to capture the moments in human life that are not ordinary or usual. What I mean by stating this is that we often read pleasant, memorable and heart-warming episodes of life mentioned in short stories or novels that we read. However, this one has a collection of 13 short stories and all of them are remembering either ironical, satirical or even horrible experiences in life that the readers will enjoy – just to know how adverse episodes can also be entertaining subjects for short stories. Biswajit has done well on that front.
For example, the story titled Bovine Intervention, the shortest one as well, mentions a hilarious episode that can trigger minutes of laughter in anyone who reads it.
“The proximity triggered the most natural bovine reaction. The tail lifted a little, the hind legs stiffened a bit and parted just enough to create an optimum passage and out came the dung in full flow. The whole episode had the suddenness of a flashflood and abruptly the baldness was gone, covered by a green perfumed batter that had taken its rightful place.”
I am sure you might be in thoughts… the book is not exactly otherwise but yes, it is wise enough to show to the readers that a good short story does not have to be about love, heartbreaks, kissing someone… it can be anything taken out of ‘life’s little ironies’ and good use of language, wise selection of words and a humane approach to the incidents can create a wonderful short story to be remembered… even about the best methods used to escape a life insurance agent!
Readers who love reading short stories will certainly enjoy Happimess created by Biswajit Banerji. You can get a copy from Amazon India. All the best! Enjoy some humour in the chilling winter of December… with a pandemic that’s about to go away (perhaps).
By Anand for Indian Book Lovers