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‘Every Sky is not Blue’ (Book review)

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By: Muhammad Shafi Wani

A short stories-collection, “Every sky is not blue” by Vishal Sharma, portrays the trivial mentality that an Indian denizen is obsessed with. It captures the Indian Idiosyncrasy and mannerism in an envious fashion. An amalgam of emotions, elation and empathy, the collection makes the reader to delve deep into the social fabric and come out with wailing eyes. The author leads the reader’s mind and makes the later acquainted with our eccentrics and oddities. Barriers of distance notwithstanding, the anthology pilgrimages the reader across the country veins readying the later to believe in our simpletonish character.

Ali Jan, a retired teacher never believes that his son will fall prey to the sermons of fundamentalists only to get killed. He has never imagined his daughter getting raped by a Jihadi and turning pregnant. This state of affairs stimulates Ali Jan to end life like a simpleton Kashmiri leaving behind a futureless daughter and a widow who still hope against hope.

Radha, a little girl is a domestic help in an aristocratic urban family. Her presence brings charisma in this city family. She, however, lands in jail for alleged involvement in a robbery incident. When Radha is released, back home she ends her life. Her photo on the shelf turns the aristocrat guilty conscious.

Padmavati, like other Indian womenfolk has staunch belief in astrology. She trusts in the astrologer, Tota Ram, wholeheartedly. However, her faith is shuttered when the predicament of astrologer turns false and her son elopes with none other than the daughter of Tota Ram.

Contrary to the antique mindset,  an Indian mother allows her son to live a nuclear and blissful life in the bosom of his spouse. Her only concern is that the son should consummate the marriage ensuring continuity of the clan.

Fond of fathering a child, an impotent couple fetches a girl child living with a mendicant for adoption. This is indicative of parental loyalty and enthusiasm as prevalent in our social structure.

Inorder to conceal his impotency, Bunty blames his spouse and declares her barren. Rano is divorced. She is remarried to a widower, a father of three children. When the reality of Rano turning a mother comes to fore, Bunty is rebuked by his mother. Thus, as usual, the brunt of childlessness is faced by a potent bride rather than by an impotent groom.

We Indians still abhor allopathy and rely on talismans given by Babas. We lose battle against diseases. Ramesh while relying on the admonitions of a Baba, lost his only daughter, Ruhi to a common ailment.

An ordeal that a family living close to the Indo-Pak border faces amidst cross border firing is heart wrenching. People are forced to inhabit makeshift camps in the hinterland even during harsh winters.

Teacher-student relationship is always sacred in our society and it gets proved even during court trials. Rhea in order to takes revenge of her insult in the class slams rape charges over her teacher. The teacher goes behind bars. Rhea, however, speaks for her teacher’s innocence in a court of law and Mr. Hari Prasad is set free. The teacher regains respect and esteem both in the college as well as family.

Indian couples, on the pretext of enjoyment delay baby births. This idea sometimes proves fatal. Kamini suffers miscarriages one after another. She loses the two adopted kids  to the diseases too. This tells upon her heart and sighs last breath in the lap of her spouse.

A young woman, against the wishes of her clan, leaves to study abroad. She develops relations with an alien. She returns India to lit up the pyre of her father. This is what is considered sacrilege in our society even today.

This collection of stories by a civil servant is a saga of love & lust and acceptance & escape. The anthology focuses on realities of life and is a good read for literarians.

The reviewer is a Civil Servant, working in J&K Finance   Department.

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