I am writing this blog aware that this is the 200th blog piece. This is on my 6th book and the first collection of fictional works – short stories - ‘Heart Alone – Whispers in Relations’, an e-book for Amazon Kindle.
The book pleasantly enough has evoked good response from friends and patrons and a few favourable reviews also.
Manish Anand, a fellow journo friend has enthusiastically obliged:
"Heart alone is a beautiful collection of tales of Bengali lives woven from the landscape of India's pristine North-eastern states. Some of them are perched in idyllic places near Kohima, Shillong where Bengalis have traditionally co-existed with ethnic tribal. These tales tell human agonies and pains of hearts in times when human relationship is fast becoming subservient to materialist cravings of fast changing lives of the people. Women seemingly appear to be principal characters in these tales and the writer has done a world of good in portraying their worlds. Men and women relationship are a lot different than those of boys and girls and that appears to have well been captured in these stories. The writer has beautifully experimented to bring the characters to life by catching their thoughts and reflections in words. The book makes for an excellent read and holds back the reader."
There has been another review wherein Andalib Akhter says: "‘Heart Alone’ is probably worth downloading on mobile and read quickly".
But as objective reviewer, Andalib is also candid:
"The author, however, appears confused on certain issues of life, love and family matters. Is he batting for a joint family system or getting guided by his middle class inhibitions, one is not sure? Similarly, one is not sure on whether he wants the characters to be free birds and ‘rebels’ – not influenced and cowed down by the pressures of family members. Thus the stories often differ a lot from each other. So we have ‘A Rebel Son’, where the protagonist wants to be the master of his decisions; at the same time, in ‘Axiom of a girl friend’, the author runs down a woman who ill-treats her in-laws.
Well, if Dev is confused, so is also perhaps everyone else who listens to his or her ‘HEART’."
|With Manish Anand during one journalistic venture|
Another enthusiastic friend from northeast has also commented in a dignified manner.
“There is a time-tested maxim that pen in honest hands is always mightier than a sword. But pen-paper is a thing of past these days and in this era of internet revolution when people forego eating to their weakness for Facebook, books have been aptly replaced by e-books. Nirendra Dev’s ‘Heart Alone – Whispers in Relations’ - a collection of Short Stories is just an addition in that list. But as the title suggests the book talks about characters who are mostly guided by the
diktats of their hearts. It sounds righteous but also antique.
Heart is often alone, that’s a truism; more so in the modern era.”
My personal comments on the stories are contained in the Preface of the e-book.
“My characters are generally Bengali and from northeast India. The reason is simply because as a writer I have not been able to withdraw myself completely from the trials and tribulations of that far-flung region.” Thus I say, stories have characters where in an army officer serves in remote Akuluto region of Nagaland or a south Indian babu is shown working in Mizoram.
I also believe: “In a short story everything cannot be reflection of what has
happened or could happen. Something ought to be pure invention too. Thus in ‘Patrons of a Letter Box’, the narrator of the story is the Letter Box itself but the admission of guilt is again not by the ‘box’ per se. Stories should keep the reader’s mind locked in a debate,” he says.
Everyone around was trying to comfort her. My children, their spouses, my colleagues and what’s this – even my school headmaster and boss of many years, Shaibal Sen.
Shaibal Sen rubbing his hand gently over my wife’s head and slowly…. the gutsy shoulder. This crook was always eyeing Banalata. I distinctly remember, once he had said, “your wife’s name Banalata itself is like a current volt….. some poetry in it…. You know what does it mean?”
As he was my boss, I tried to be gentleman…. Or else I would have shown that son of a dog, what’s real ‘bhadrata’ is. I had simply gazed; then to top it all, Shaibal Sen had asked, “did you like her name or physique more”.
The word or name Banalata, as I understand stood for ‘jungle tweeds’ but over the time the name has become a symbol of feminine mystery, beauty and love. Thanks essentially to Bengali poet, Jibanananda Das’s celebrated title work: ‘Banalata Sen’.
(Niharbabu's Last Rites)
"For my father on the other hand, Contempt for women was a symbol of true manhood – Purushwata. It had come to stay as a minimum virtue in my father’s family to underestimate woman or to find fault with them. Well, feminine traits were like a disease they would be more careful than any other malady in the society. Actually, my father had inherited that. Four of them, my father, my grand father and two of my uncles were more than convinced that only in ‘vinash kaley’--- when your end is imminent- men would listen to women, especially the wives. The better half was a misnomer..."