“When he leaves home for college next week, he will travel farther than miles.”
Monideepa Sahu ends her first story with this beautiful sentence. This sentence could be used to describe the experience of reading Monideepa’s book, Going Home in the Rain and other Stories. This collection will take you on a journey into the suppressed realms in your mind, make you pause and yearn for those long-forgotten memories.
Monideepa Sahu’s language is magical. Her vibrant prose conjures up images that materialise right before your eyes. The characters are likeable and relatable. They are not super-heroes that are going to save the day. They are you and me! They pull you into their world. Her book makes you travel ‘farther than miles’.
The first story, A Royal Tour, is my personal favourite; it brings out the nuances in the delicate beautiful relationship between a mother and her son as they go on a journey to enjoy one last vacation together before he leaves home for college. The story resonated with me because I have two sons. I could feel the emotions running in the author’s mind as she finds solace in past memories, art and nature. That is the magic of Monideepa Sahu’s stories—they are as simple as they are complex.
“The monsoon breeze would stroke my burnished ebony skin as I tossed off my brocade garments to the clang of cymbals and throbbing drums.”
The story ‘Dhatura’ is Soorpanakha’s tale from her point of view. This short mythological fiction is another treat in this collection. Within just a few minutes, it changed my entire perspective of the Ramayana.
Her stories depict slices of life that we tend to ignore in this hustle for a living. For instance, after reading her first story, I stopped myself from shaking my son awake in the morning. Instead of pushing and pulling him off the bed, in my haste to get him ready for school, I taught myself to wake him up with a smile and a kiss. The story made me wonder about the day when I would walk into that room and find it empty. The day when he would move out for further education, fall in love, find a life partner, and build a nest of his own. It taught me to slow down and cherish the little moments of life when they were still available to me.
Anyone who loves reading short fiction would enjoy these delectable nuggets of the simple joys and fears narrated in stunning prose. The endorsement on the book’s cover by Shashi Deshpande calls her, ‘A classic story teller’. When you read this collection, you would nod your head and accept she is one.