“Fiction has been maligned for centuries as being ‘false,’ ‘untrue,’ yet good fiction provides more truth about the world, about life, and even about the reader, than can be found in non-fiction.”
~ Clark Zlotchew, Fiction Writer, USA
Childhood has its fun and frolic, though the degrees of its relative fulfilment differ depending on one’s socioeconomic situation. Many a snare lurks on the way to our adolescence, youth and adulthood be it a boy or a girl, though the position of a girl is far more vulnerable in a society of snowballing male lechery. Next to education and means of livelihood, the most important landmark in life is leading to the altar. While most of us agree that marriage in the Indian society is a sacrament at which we can look back with sweet nostalgia and also as a stabilizing & cohesive factor of the society, it is marred by those who are motivated by perversities like unscrupulousness, mammonism, narcissism, egotism and sadism leading even to skewed up paternal reluctance to maternity, and coldblooded atrocities against the fairer sex at every level.
While our lives do have a streak of the strange, the absurd and the bizarre as well, there are also whiffs of harmony and sanity; empathy and charity. With the barriers between people and people, and nations and nations gradually loosening – even as there are orchestrated misanthropic designs and activities, there is also an increased spirit of eclecticism and syncretism that could smoothen the angularities of creedal and racial differences. No doubt, a mad race for easy and quick material comforts is on with the concomitant crooked means to fulfil them. At the same time, it can’t be denied that the basic goodness and earthy wisdom in the people, more so at the lower echelons of the society, remains by and large intact. This is a great emotional resource for the cohesion of the society if only there is a concerted effort to strengthen it, by instilling good sense in the myopically minded fissiparous forces.
Despite greater global discourse and concourse, there are voices of bitter divergence, both genuine and contrived, that tend to question, deconstruct, denigrate and defy wholesale anything that doesn’t appeal to their perception. However, it could be taken as a kind of transitory and evolutionary interacting force which coupled with large heartedness and empathy from the perceived perpetrators of past injustices would, one hopes, pave the way for creation of its own constructive edifices, without trying to undermine and negate but gracefully accept the common best in the heritage. With a spirit of ‘I will take a step forward, and you take one,’ let us come closer and hug one another, if we believe that we are in a modern and civilised order and not in a primitive or dark age.
Society is a melting pot of all the above ideas, and we have, in reflection of them, a beautiful rainbow of stories in the present issue. The stories and the writers are –
1. God’s own taxi: Ajay Patri
2. Divine Confluence: Bem Le Hunte
3. Two: Indu Parvathi
4. A mother’s grief: A Malayalam story by Narayan, translated by Sreejith Varma
5. A woodpecker hammers at my throat: Neera Kashyap
6. A story told by a maid-servant’s preteen daughter: Sunil Sharma
7. At school: Sushrut Bhatia
Happy reading! Happy time!