Contemporary Indian Short Stories In English

AUTHOR: Various Authors (Compiled by Shiv. K. Kumar)
Genre:  Indian Fiction, Short Story collection
ISBN:  8172010591
PUBLISHER: Sahitya Akademi
PRICE: Rs. 75

BOOK COVER SAYS: This well-chosen collection of 24 short stories contains some of the best writing in English that has emerged from India in the recent past. Several of these stories have appeared in various collections, anthologies and journals in India and abroad. though written in English "the tempo of Indian life" as Raja Rao says, "is beautifully infused into the English expression." The style though distinctive in each story, is markedly Indian, and reveals the writer's rootedness in contemporary Indian reality.

SWARNALI SPEAKS: This book compiles a random selection of short stories by Indian English writers like R.K.Narayan, Mulk Raj Anand, Dina Mehta, Jayanta Mahapatra, Anita Mehta, Ruskin Bond and Raja Rao amongst others.
Here are a few stories that I particularly liked in order of their appearance in the book-
1) Sujatha Balasubramaniam's The Betrayal - This story tells how fate's cruel tricks brings the protagonist face to face with the sins of his past, how he had betrayed the innocent and naive Sundari and how that past connects to his present.
2) Ruskin Bond's The Eyes are Not Here - Ruskin Bond has been my favorite from the time I was 10. Had read his omnibus and I still remember the stories. One of the most prominent feature that I found in most of his stories is the presence of a train. This story takes place inside a train compartment where a blind person muses over the innate blindness in all human beings with sight who tend to ignore very important details around them just because they see too much. The blind,on the other hand, notice all the important details as they have a limit access to things around them. The end is brilliant and ironically proves how wrong the narrator was in his assessment of people around him.
3) Shiv K. Kumar's To Nun With Love - The very name of this story reminded me of To Sir, With Love and surprisingly it was somewhat similar to it. A very poignant story of a parent who falls in love with the beautiful teacher of his daughter.
4)Dina Mehta's Absolution - A modern tale about relationships and commitment to your partner,this story was my favorite of the lot. The end is plain Awesome.
5) Khuswant Singh's The Bottom Pincher - Here is Khuswant Singh at his raunchiest best. This story is hilarious and very symbolic at the same time.

Stories like Mulk Raj Anand's The Liar, Kishori Charan Das's Fish Mayonnaise, Arun Jishi's The Boy with the Flute , Anita Mehta's Letters/4,5, and 6 and  Raja Rao's India- A Fable  were a few that I didn't like or for that matter, they went beyond my understanding.
The rest of the stories were just okay.

As Kaustabh had pointed out to me about the typos in Sahitya Akademi publications,I suppose, the dirt cheap prices are a good enough reason to forgive those minor errors.

My Rating- 3.5 / 5


  1. we had this story of ruskin bond's in school! it was named "the eyes have it". loved it; n i admire some of the other writers mentioned 2. i might go through this one. good review! :)

  2. Sahitya Akademi does bring out some nice volumes .. I still am trying to collect the volumes of "katha" .. a book series they did with translated regional language stories..

  3. @Arpi_thanks :)
    @Nimue_yeah I heard about them,need to get more from them.

  4. Yeah even I have read 'The eyes are not here' and 'the boy with the flute' quite early in my life. I totally second Swarnali that Ruskin Bond is one of the best Indian writers in English.


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