Title: Kanhu & Other stories
Translated by Saroj Mishra
Published by: Platinum Press 2015
Price: Rs. 149
Kanhu & Other stories is a compilation of ten short stories written by well-known Odiya writers which are translated by Saroj Mishra. Many of those writers are the winners of Kendrya Sahitya Akademi awards and different types of renowned literary awards. The main focus of the stories is on the contemporary Odiya culture and society. Each story has a strong plot that will pull the reader to move on the next and each character of the story are skillfully crafted. The stories are actually the irony of the bureaucratic society which are sarcastically portraying the present scenario. Most of the negative aspects of a politically dominated society have been depicted through the stories. Whether it is bribery to dowry, conspiracy to jealousy, or self-respect to honesty, the authors folded it well in the attire of strong plots.
I really enjoyed the irony of the political world in the story – “Inauguration of the Electric Crematorium.” At one read it will look like a story full of comedy, how a dead body has been arranged for a minister for the inauguration of the Electric Crematorium. Very interestingly the author has portrayed the futility of human lives with full of satire. The battle between truth and lie that is actually the subjective clause of the political world has been sketched comically but the irony is totally visible. Or take the stories like Mystery of the closed iron chest, Kanhu, or Mission Heart, where the human relationships and the thought provoking feelings were sketched well. Loneliness, unemployment, hunger, trust, loyalty, dream, love, negligence, fragility of relationships all are the key tools of the stories. The stories are nothing but ironically replicating the true face of the present society. The the stories are the picture of the present Odiya culture where trust diminishes, truth gets eschewed, love turns in to negligence, and loyalty takes for granted. Each story depicts the survival strategy that the human folks are fighting against the odds, sacrificing the positive attitude to surrender to the autocratic world. Life is a blessing but life is cruel too when it gets dominated by the human made destiny – that is the inner meaning of each story. Overall I literally enjoyed reading each and every story of the book.