“A short story is the ultimate close-up magic trick — a couple of thousand words to take you around the universe or break your heart.”
― Neil Gaiman
Monsoon Musings is an edifying collection of beautiful short-stories by Abha Vatsa, a poet, author, blogger and recipient of Margdarshan Award in 2013. Her works include a travelogue titled Barfani Baba to Amarnanth Happily, poetry books namely Harmony, Home Alone, Miracle, Desire, Mannequin and Euphoria along with her contributions to anthologies titled I Am A Woman: A tribute to Kamala Das, Kafiyana and Colours of Refuge.
Monsoon Musings through seven different engrossing stories presents different colours of life experiences. All the stories revolve around various women and girls facing their struggles, challenges, dreams, endeavour and conclusions. Every story gives an everlasting lesson of optimism.
The first story ‘ICU’ is about Meera and her husband Sanjay who is recovering after his gall-bladder surgery. The story illustrates a series of emotions and thoughts that Meera goes through while attending her husband in ICU and an incident towards the end which leaves them in dismay. The story presents the sad and silent atmosphere of ICU and why “Medicine, a noble profession indeed.”
The story ‘Bua’ is about a newlywed couple Sandhya and Sunil. Sandhya, a girl raised in a nuclear family faces many emotional upheavals after becoming part of joint family. Yet, the extraordinary role played by Bua in her life is interesting to read.
Third story ‘Kitty Party’ demonstrates Megha’s struggles and the pain she goes through after spinal-paralysis. What became more depressing are not the pain but her inability and idleness. But an idea of her friend Sangeeta along with that one request of her maid Bani changes the whole scenario.
Next story ‘Kafue’ takes the readers towards the national park of Zambia. The protagonist of the story is nine years old Tanya. Tanya enjoys her new life at Zambia and sets out for an adventurous trip of Kafue National Park where she finds many delightful surprises waiting for her.
The fifth story ‘Madurai’, bring us back to India. The story features Aparna, a faithful devotee of Lord Shiva and her journey to Meenakshi Temple of Madurai, Tamil Nadu, to witness the celestial wedding of Lord Shiva and Goddess Meenakshi. The story revolves around her discovery of ancient temple ending on something she has never expected.
The next story ‘Monsoon Musings’ is about the beauty of monsoon, the festivals which occur during this season and Madhu, a lover of the season. The story encloses Madhu’s pursuit of happiness for her maid Reena, her devotion for lord Shiva, Hariyali Teej, Satsang and Savan.
The seventh and last story is ‘Nostalgia’, which I liked the most. It is also based on a tour but more than that, it portrays a search for childhood memories, a long lost friend and happiness. Chaya goes through recurrent dreams of a small boy which she believes to be her childhood friend Sumant. Her nostalgia encouraged her tour to Bamrauli Village of Allahabad, where reside all memories of her childhood, her school life and her friend Sumant. What was the reason for her dreams of Sumant, how will she find him and Mahakumbh of Allahabad are the highlights of the story.
Every story of the book presents a beautiful description of personal experiences, emotional variations and pursuit of means to life. Everyone faces different challenging, breaking or pleasing, breath taking or nostalgic phases in life. This book is a composition of those edifying phases.
The significance of love, friendship, family, culture, traditions and festivals are marked precisely. The strength and willpower to rise above ordeals are the highlights of the book.
The beauty of monsoon is delightfully elaborated through the lines – “Savan, a time for musings, a time to rejoice with Lord Shiva, witnessing mother earth laughing in ecstasy, at the outpouring of showers from the heavens”.
All the characters of the stories are realistic and easily relatable. The incidents and events are precisely woven. The language is simple and lucid. Optimism rules throughout the book and every story ends on a promising note.
Bhabya Singh is a student of Commerce, (hailing from Dhanbad, Jharkhand); however, with a fond love towards literature she thrives to read and write.