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Via her anthology, Rimli Bhattacharya explores all our secret anxieties, and reminds us that there is always more to a person than what we can see.
From what Rimli had shared about her book on Facebook, I expected a book full of life’s ‘little mysteries,’ and now, on reading it, I can confirm that my expectations were fully satisfied.
The Crosshairs of Life, by Rimli Bhattacharya, is an anthology of 15 short stories, each of them a slice of life. Some of these stories, or versions of them, have been published earlier in Cafe Dissensus, Women’s Web, Bonobology, Modern Literature and Your Story Club.
The ‘little mysteries’ are the sort of questions we grapple with everyday. Our personal conundrums that are too tricky even for a Great Detective, because these are the unsolvable problems that keep us awake at night. It is as if Rimli has captured all those anxieties with her pen, and laid them out in ink.
Many of these stories have open endings, often leaving us at a point of crisis or change, so that the reader experiences, even if just for a moment, the same sense of despair, agony, or sometimes even hope, which the characters themselves experience. We are left wondering what they will do next.
The people in these pages are far from perfect. They are deeply flawed and they make terrible decisions. They are however, very real. They commit adultery, they mourn their losses, they experience loneliness, they fall in love with the wrong people. They LIVE. Rimli renders all these complexities of ‘being human’ with a light touch.
The women especially, feel like women I know. Friends, sisters, neighbours. We see them everywhere. Some of them are extremely unlikeable, but Rimli makes sure that even as we dislike them, we understand them.
She doesn’t make the reader reach for the dictionary at all, and yet there is a simple beauty to the prose, that elevates it and builds empathy for the characters. Take this passage from the story, She Was His Lolita:
“She also wrote poems, essays and songs. But mostly, she kept to herself and her writings – which she never shared. It was for her to keep locked in the closet. She could not recollect where she kept the keys; maybe she had lost them in the tide of life. ‘Let it be,’ she thought. Keys are worldly and don’t have any emotional value but what she missed were the words which she had written decades ago.’
Simple sentences, which don’t really describe in detail the emotions of the protagonist, but somehow, we still feel that pang of regret and loss.
Some of my favourite stories from this collection are, That Best Friend, Rani, Those Voices, and Nocturnal Adventure.
Do take a chance on Rimli’s book. You may just find someone you know, in one of the stories. It could even be you.
If you would like to pick up a copy of The Crosshairs of Life by Rimli Bhattacharya, use our affiliate links at Amazon India, and at Amazon US.
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Image source: Rimli Bhattacharya
This post has published with none or minimal editorial intervention. Women's Web is an open platform that publishes a diversity of views, individual posts do not necessarily represent the platform's views and opinions at all times.
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"There is a story and a vision which makes us gravitate towards cinema. Even as we worked as assistants on ads, we realised that cinema was our true calling," say Gunpreet Kaur Mann and Deepali Singh Raseen.
The Railway Men. Mili. Cuttputli. The Diplomat. Bade Miyan Chote Miyan. And more…
Let me introduce to you the talented designer duo who have worked on these, and can be considered today’s upcoming costume designers for the screen. Gunpreet Kaur Mann and Deepali Singh.
Having studied at NIFT, Gunpreet Kaur Mann sent her portfolio out to several designers. Her first gig was as an assistant stylist with Manoshi and Rushi, who also happen to be a designer duo. She worked on an ad film starring Saif Ali Khan and eventually landed a full time job with designer Vikram Phadnis. Years of experience as assistant costume designer followed, which eventually led her to getting a break.
A ‘thank you’ makes a lot of difference in the way any woman in your life sees herself in your eyes. It might even mean the world to her.
I have not received any appreciation in the past. Probably never will. This is the experience of ample women across the globe. The expectation to be thanked for all the sacrifices she makes to keep others happy has faded. Yet the urge to hear few words of acknowledgement always lingers.
There is never a day when she pushes off her own burdens. She knows not to give up on people she loves. Women in general, are givers by nature and hence, give without asking anything in return. They have been the care givers and lovers since centuries however receive no appreciation.
It will mean the world to your mother if you answer her calls. If your sister seems lost give her a hug and assure her about her strengths. Tomorrow, there might come a day when you would have to make your daughter feel empowered with few words of wisdom every now and then. For the children to feel wanted and loved, you must be able to spare some quality time with your wife and be present in the moment.
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