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Worlds apart but together with love

‘We are full of stories’, writes Ravinder Singh as he opens up his collection of love stories from vastly different lives. Stories create empathy, they open up the seams of our capacity for wonder and compassion, and broaden our understanding of the vagaries of human lives. In You Are All I Need, twenty-five authors share their stories and their worlds with us. Today, we bring you a few of those:

 

‘Something in the Rain’ by Kaustubhi Singh

I take a little walk in my cubicle for one last time because I’ll be given a clearance today. I sit on the brown wooden chair I used to kick when I was so miserable that the doctors had to tie my hands up. Alcohol was my escape. The idea of alcohol was not pleasure but an escape, because when that warm liquor burns your throat, it starts dissolving the hurt stuck down there and slowly numbs you so you don’t feel the hurt. Heartbreak isn’t beautiful; it isn’t some literature; it’s not listening to sad songs or something like that. It’s feeling okay for a minute and then starting to feel their ghost around you, their touch on your skin. You miss them, you miss them so much that you choke on your memories with them.

Dr Mayank Sharma, my shrink, almost my age, tells me that it will always hurt, and it will make one cry and scream till one’s nose is blocked and eyes puffy; that hurt is inevitable but it will hurt less, and I will see and understand why someone did what they did. And I think I understand. When I look back to the day Robbie left me for another woman, he said he had grown out of love and I stood there thinking: Where did I go wrong? But thinking about it now makes me realize I did everything to truly belong to Robbie. I changed myself for him, I changed my ways and choices for him when I should have let him love me for who I was, because that’s what love is, that’s what love is supposed to be—loving someone for who they are.

 

‘A Tender Ray of Love’ by Nandita Warrier

She was six; he was eight. He found her irritating and called her a ‘complaint box’; she found him obnoxious and called him a ‘monster’. They fought in every get-together.

…She was twelve; he was fourteen. He secretly detested her scholarly attitude; she was swept by his charm and wrote about him in her secret diary.

…She was eighteen; he was twenty. She aspired to be a doctor; he was determined to be one of the ‘Men in Blue’.

Their paths were growing apart, just like their personalities. They rarely met, and when they did, she was more awkward than before. He didn’t seem interested in her and she was torn whether or not to share her feelings with him.

And then something happened. He did something terrible—unforgivable! She had held him in such high regard all along, loved him with all her heart, but he had treated her like trash. She was shattered.

…She was twenty-seven; he was twenty-nine. She was a bright, young surgeon winning people over; he was a lost and bitter soul, spewing venom at everyone.

She was twenty-eight; he was thirty. She was full of dreams; he was broken.

Front cover of You Are All I Need
You Are All I Need||Ravinder Singh

That night, she slept early because she had a morning duty in the ICU. That night, he slept late after emptying a bottle of sleeping pills.

Just as Ramya reached the hospital, she was summoned to the OT for an emergency procedure. ‘Suicide attempt,’ someone whispered. Dr Iyer was instructing the team when Ramya joined them in her OT scrubs. She threw a casual look at the patient and immediately recoiled. It was Rohan! Oh no, how could this be? Memories from her childhood, locked away in some corner, defiantly barged in, making her want to sob.

He looked so pale and pitiable—a mere shadow of the handsome young man she remembered from their last meeting years back! Rohan had had everything going for him—what could have possibly gone so wrong? Sensing her discomfort, Dr Iyer enquired, ‘You know him?’

‘Family friend,’ she uttered nonchalantly, hiding the wave of sadness sweeping over her.

 

‘Love in the Times of Marriage’ by Aparajita Shishoo

When Adil saw her across the room, his heart skipped a beat. He couldn’t take his eyes off Meera’s radiant face. He decided to walk up to her.

‘Hi,’ Adil said.

Meera was standing alone, enjoying the party her friend, Kanika, had thrown. Meera turned to look at Adil and smiled back at him with a soft ‘hi’.

Adil continued, ‘You seem to be the arty-farty type. What are you doing at a filmy party?’

Meera was a bit tipsy by that time, so she retorted, ‘I am definitely farty, but with some arty. What about you?’

Adil laughed out loud at her candour and asked her again what she was doing at such a party.

‘I am fishing for some juicy stories for my publication. You?’

‘I am trying to make some juicy stories!’ Adil winked at Meera.

Meera laughed and asked, ‘Are you flirting with me?’ ‘Are you noticing?’ Adil said.
Meera shot back, ‘I am ignoring . . . I don’t flirt with boys who have just entered puberty.’
‘Oh! That hurt . . . really hurt!’ Adil said, imitating a heartbreak. ‘By the way, I am twenty-five, well beyond my puberty years.’

Meera laughed again at Adil’s dramatics, and they continued their conversation.

Adil was a cinematographer in the Hindi film industry and the camera was his first love, but right now his own lenses were fixed on Meera’s face. ‘So what brings you to Mumbai?’

‘Change,’ said Meera, after a pause.

…At the other end of the room, Kanika noticed the chemistry between the two and was happy that her friend was finally enjoying flirting and chatting up guys.

 

Lose yourself in stories that will stay with you for a long, long time. 

Stories from Storywallah

Storywallah is a collection of short stories written by a handpicked group of writers. This book deals with life in provincial India at a crossroad with modernity. These stories expose readers to the common yet unique life in India at a deeper perspective. It makes us value the land we are born in, relationships we share with people and ordinary objects of everyday life, which become the  pathway of creating new friendships.
Let’s take a look at some of the short stories in the book!

  • The short story, Home, deals with a son’s realization of how much his father and bua loved him. Even though years have passed, he misses his home country in a foreign land. However, due to the love his own sons have given him, he finds the courage to fulfil the deepest desire of his heart – to reunite with his family.

  • The Muffler is a story which symbolizes how relationships can be formed through the smallest of things, like lending a muffler to a stranger on a cold snowy day. It deals with gut feelings and instincts and not questioning instances in life. The aspect of living in the present and let the future remain is a mystery is the crux of it.


 

  • The Evening Tea is a short story which deals with perceptions about relationships, especially the one between a mother-in-law and a daughter-in-law in the Indian household. When an individual tries to understand the reasons behind the actions of the other person, their judgement towards them becomes fair. All the anger and hatred is instead replaced by love and empathy.


 

  • Ayesha is a story about a father whose daughter was kidnapped in Dalhousie. For six years, he searched for her everywhere. Even when his wife lost faith in finding her, he never gave up. One day, he found the first link to his daughter. Slowly, the hope of finding his daughter turned brighter. It is truly said that where there’s a will there’s a way.


 

  • A Bird in Flight is a story about an old man who chose to leave his village life in order to become a part of the city life. Years later, his son wants to sell his ancestral home in the village. However the thought of selling a paramount part of his life breaks him. This story deals with the a man’s affinity to the land he was born in , to go back to his roots and the memories of the happiest time of his life- his childhood.


 
 

5 Quotes from Akhil Sharma’s ‘A Life of Adventure and Delight’ Which Make His Book a Must-Read

Stories are, after all, nothing more than accounts of the workings of the human heart and mind in relation to the world. And the mark of a successful storyteller, as we all know, is nothing more than the ability to get under the reader’s skin and tug at their heartstrings. Akhil Sharma’s new collection of short stories — A Life of Adventure and Delight, consolidates his reputation of a master storyteller with eight stories of the fragile human heart, told in a way that’s “as hypnotic as those found in the pages of Dostoyevsky”.
Here are 5 instances from Sharma’s new anthology to convince you to pick up a copy right now.
A retired divorcé, in search of love and companionship, decides to relearn how to impress a woman by reading women’s magazines. But how does his search end?
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A young boy explores his relationship with the divine and negotiates with God to get what he wants.
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A young boy observes his older cousin grow up to break norms and lead a life that often leaves him in a state of shock.
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What happens when you wake up and fall in love with your husband, only for a day?
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An ordinary man’s life takes some exceptional turns during a few extraordinary moments. Does his life change forever?
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Grab your copy of Akhil Sharma’s fascinating new collection of stories here now!
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