Author: Kunal Sen
Publication: Leadstart Publishing Pvt. Ltd
“It seems now more than ever, as though, only you, could carry my weight, my demons, my insecurities, my hope, my faith, my future, my tantrums.”
If tragedy could be beautiful! And this is what you get to understand in this collection of short stories by Kunal Sen. Each story touches that little part of you deep inside. And you begin to appreciate sorrow, hurt, loneliness – all those emotions and thoughts that are so much part of being human.
The stories are about characters that exist in real life, about people whose tragedy is that their memories of unhappiness and melancholy are alive while their inner selves are dead. When the author talks about these people he gives us the honour to live the moments with the protagonists – their little joys, their sorrow, their little desires, their reflections…
“At least we know what we know now, our broken marriage, lying at the bottom of the river, like a pirate’s chest, long lost, wanting to be found. I’ve seen the water rise before, surrounding us in unquenchable pain, leaving everyone an island in these miles and miles of urban loneliness, and then one day, suddenly storming through their eyes.”
Way back, when I was just a lanky teenager afflicted with sudden electric bouts of creative tension I felt at peace writing about any little sorrow, real or imagined. A piece of verse here, a story there. If I would see or hear about any tragedy or conflict elsewhere, I would write about it too. Kunal’s book made me remember it all. It reminded me of the fact that sorrow need not necessarily be tragic. It can be beautiful in its own way, especially when it is written in a language that understands every little thought, emotion that plagues a human soul.
Like in the story Eucalyptus, where Kunal writes,
“Anir, there are those who don’t care about prose, searching for meaning in another person instead, for although we may not realize it, in our separate ways on this very planet, with our little lies and petty insecurities, our soulful secrets and hushed memories, we’re all just really… alone.”
Or in Alexandra’s Stalker, where an actor says,
“If acting meant going through my personal demons and reviving old wounds and running them through the wringer again and again, then I didn’t want to do it. There had to be another way. I couldn’t imagine there wasn’t. The answer just had to lie in research, spontaneity, visual stimuli or just the reaction of your co-actor. I couldn’t agree to whore out my soul or parade my pain just to do an emotional scene.”
In Zugzwang, where a warring couple, realizing that they can never be together again:
“You’re me. But, I’m sick of trying to get inside your head. There are nights when I can’t sleep, Steve. I think I’ve not been able to reach you. It’s…It’s like sleeping with a stranger. But now I’ve realized that it’s not my fault. You would never let me in. Not anymore. And I’m tired of waiting. Tired of living for you, tired of putting my heart in things you may or may not notice. I feel like I’m stifling you with my very existence. “
The Salt Lake makes life reach out to you even in the darkest moments, where love shines even when hope is fading.
Left From Dhakewshwari – the story that gives the book its name is all about memories, emotions deep inside. It’s like digging, shoveling the dirt to come up with gems for posterity.
“I think a lot of people make that mistake as well; thinking that their lives today are just purgatories for tomorrow, stories about another story, another day.”
Every story of Kunal could be a novel. That’s the beauty of these stories. But of course, this one is not for those wanting a light reading. A beautiful book – Hazy, over the head sometimes but a class of its own!
Kunal Sen is an independent filmmaker and playwright. An investment manager by profession, he has acted in and directed films, written screenplays, poetry, prose and critiques. His other interests include travelling, painting and reading.