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Kanhu & other stories

Kanhu & other stories

Kanhu & other stories
-Saroj Mishra (translated the stories from Odiya)
Leadstart Publishing

kanhu frontLong ago, my father had taken me to Orissa (it was still not Odisha then). Working in bank, he had availed the LFC and took the entire family for vacation. I was a little kid then and vaguely remember what I had visited – the Konark Sun temple, Shanti Stupa at Dhauli and Puri Jagannath temple. But the experience had stayed in my life. Later, I have crossed Odisha many times on my trip towards Calcutta but never was able to visit Odisha. Couple of weeks ago, when Leadstart displayed a couple of titles, I immediately took the book named ‘Kanhu and other stories’. First reason, it was a collection of short stories. Second was that it was translated from Odiya, a culture which I am not much aware of. Best novels in any language would be possibly translated into other languages, especially English and would reach the world. But short stories are lost in translation. Kanhu was a collection of short stories translated from Odiya to English. I would not miss that.

When Kanhu was delivered to me, I was so happy for a few things. It was not a big bundle of too many short stories. There were just ten. And they were really short stories, each spreading on an average ten pages. When I googled about the authors, I was more excited before even starting to read the stories. Saroj Mishra, who had translated these stories have also written a story in this collection. As a writer himself, I was sure that Saroj would have selected the best of the Odiya short stories for this collection. And there was no disappointment. The stories were a wide collection spreading across various planes.

  • Kanhu’s home by Gaura Hari Das is about a kid who builds his home. The innocence of a child and the cruel reality of the world hits not just Kanhu, but us too.
  • Mystery of the Closed Iron Chest by Sahadev Sahoo is about the relations of an old man and the way his family handles the relation post his death.
  • Last Opportunity by Bipin Bihari Mishra is about an old couple meeting amongst a huge crowd. The emotions of the old man and his love towards his lady is touching. It defines the meaning of true love.
  • Inauguration of the Electric Crematorium by Paresh Kumar Patnaik is a hilarious riot. It was total contrast to the previous story and it took me by surprise. Every part of the story kept me smiling. It also makes fun of our bureaucratic babus and systems.
  • The Wound by Ramchandra Behera is again a fun on how the media impacts the poor. Of how every part of our society wants to grab a pie of a good deeds done by a poor. Reality hurts.
  • Mission Heart by Saroj Mishra is about a complex relationship between a man and lady. No one could escape the circumstances. It defies the so-called righteousness.
  • Gagan Majhi and his Kin by Bibhuti Patnaik is about the corporate bureaucrat nexus and of how it impacts a life. One could escape laws, but never their own conciousness.
  • Drowning by Shyama Prasad Chaudhury is a mysterious fun. Its like a romantic comedy. The story ends with leaving up to the reader in deciding what is true and what is not.
  • Travel and Shoes by Sriprasad Mohanty is another fun filled story. Most of us would have passed through this phase of stealing something at some point of our life.
  • The Goalkeeper by Barendra Krushna Dhal is about sports. The story not only highlights the integrity of a sportsman but also the sportsmanship of a bookie.

Just ten stories. A quick read. If these translations could be so interesting, I admire how beautiful they would be in original writing. The translations do pass on the emotions to the reader. If you know Odiya, you’re lucky, just go and read these stories in Odiya. Others, enjoy this emotional collection in English.

PS: The back cover claims that the book has 11 stories, but I found only 10 inside the book. Searching for the last one.

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