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Shefali Tripathi Mehta’s Stuck Like Lint could have been an ordinary anthology of stories, except it is not. It is also a story hidden inside the short stories.
Trisha and Debika, are a good writer-editor team, and also very good friends. Suddenly, one day, Trisha disappears, abandoning her editor, Debika, citing a writers’ block. After being MIA for almost a year, Trisha sends across a published book of short stories to Debika. This in turn distresses the latter.
Why did Trisha leave unannounced like this? They were best friends, weren’t they? And yet, Debika feels the urge to read what Trisha has written.
As she goes through the stories, she reminisces about her time with Trisha, their little fights, their love and respect and friendship, about how after a while they could complete each other’s sentences. As she reads the stories, the reader witnesses Debika’s gradual heartbreak.
The reason I praised the format in the beginning was, the author has, on the face of it, written short stories about women and their various journeys, but there emerges from all of these a final story – a sort of culmination of all of them and her relationship with Debika, in one final attempt of a veiled explanation as to why what happened in their lives, really happened in their lives.
Of course that is my interpretation, but that is what was intriguing for me.
All the stories are brilliantly written. You feel the depth of feelings Shefali Tripathi Mehta has poured into each one of them. Generous, easy writing, clubbed with stories from several different lives.
These are fictional women you really do not know, and yet the readers are bound to find a piece of a woman they already know here and there. Women trying to erase memories, women trying to escape their past or sometimes even present, women trying to love with all their heart and failing, many such women. And then there are men in there too, men struggling with patriarchal oppression themselves. The stories are an amalgamation of each moment of our everyday lives – each thought taken and woven into a composition.
If you have a few hours on a warm cozy day or stuck someplace because of the rains, I’d suggest you pick this one up and you’d not be disappointed.
First published by the author on Facebook
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Top image via author’s website and book cover via Amazon
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