A SECRET IN THEIR CLOSET
Creepy. Captivating. Curiosity-arousing. Okay, I cheated because I wanted 2 c’s, but that is exactly what this first story is, kicking things off with a fright and a whirlwind of possibilities. I found it even more terrifying as there’s a daily soap on Sri Lankan television right now about a girl who was murdered being reincarnated, and about hypnosis. Let me not spoil anything for you here and just say that it’s an awesome choice for a first story because it made me want to read on and on.
Another one I wouldn’t have braced without some tea in my stomach. Whoa. Such raw intensity. So many emotions swirling in the air, a putrid stench, an acrid smell, something hideous that makes me feel like I need to cleanse myself. If a story can do that to a reader, then it surely proves the author’s worth. Brilliant. I will remember the images this story conjured for a long time, squirming and worrying because they seem so stark but are pulled right out of real life.
“This is one fear we all face—who will believe us?” For me, this sums up the essence not only of this story, but of all the stories in the book. And of life. For aren’t we all afraid that what we have to say or what we feel won’t be taken serious? I also loved the astute observation about those suffering from racism often being prone to racist tendencies themselves. This is definitely a different kind of ‘immigrant story’.
FORGIVE ME, FOR I HAVE SINNED
This one is interesting. I can’t put into words what I felt while reading it, whereas my emotions reading the other stories are pretty clear to me. It caught me by surprise. I was fully expecting an illicit affair in true Bollywood fashion, but there’s much more hidden between the lines. I think the three protagonists in this story would make a great base for a full novel.
“She was someone’s dream and someone’s lust. She was someone’s passion and someone’s curse. Yet no one knew her nor did anyone dare to come near her. She was everyone’s unattainable dream.”
Perfect. Fits the title to a T, and sums up the protagonist’s life in a scarily apt fashion. Poetry hidden within prose. Tragedy in a few lines.
I was good at guessing what would follow / what the stories were about until I hit this “charm” of a story. Had me totally flabbergasted, and was again very different from the rest. Bless you, Facebook. *mysterious grin*
This one caught me completely by surprise too. A bit of a gypsy feel to it, a bit of Indian mythologies and Western fairytales. And lots of tragedy. I love the association with the river.
THE LITTLE GODMOTHER
A heart-warming tale, again snatched right out of real life and hitting so many buttons that I’m still not sure how many different emotions I experienced in just a few minutes. Left me with a huge smile and a renewed love for “Cinderella”.
THE MISSING STAIRCASE
I had read this one before and instantly fallen in love with it, so I eagerly devoured it again. Perfect use of “staircase” in so many obvious and hidden ways. This will always remain one of my favourite stories by the author.
THE OTHER WOMAN
Brilliant title, brilliant spin to a tale that at first seems to obvious. I wish the story were longer, I’d love to read more about this seemingly unsolvable situation. Again, Ramesh has touched a taboo topic with sheer brilliance.
DADDY, HEAR ME OUT
Another heart-warming tale. It didn’t make me feel as much and as strongly as the others, but I love its message nevertheless. Be yourself. Never give up. Live your dream!
I had read this gem before too, but happily revisited it. You’re in for a surprise if you don’t know it. It’s a refreshingly different tale that gives the term “force of nature” a fascinating angle. And it’s also very drama-filled and neatly executed. In a way, it’s an excellent conclusion to the whole book.
All in all, I enjoyed this collection of short stories by Rubina Ramesh immensely. The author in me is shamelessly in love with the clever titles and in awe at her prowess in keeping things short. You will not find one sentence too much or one word out of place in these tales that are indeed first and foremost about one captivating thing, EMOTIONS. I only wish the stories were all a little longer, simply because they have such a huge potential.
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