TITLE: Sands Of Time
AUTHOR : Neelam Saxena Chandra
PUBLISHER: Panther House Paper & Digital Publication LLP
GENRE: Short Stories/Women/Fiction
Time is a magician. Sometimes, it acts like a soothing balm for healing the aching hearts of women and at other times, it teaches people living around her to adapt. And at some other times, it teaches people living around her to adapt. And at some other instances, time also brings with it punishments, penances and penalties. The book ‘SANDS OF TIME’ will take you through various such emotions in the twelve stories which it contains: tales that will make you smile, tales that shall raise your hair, tales that will make you hate and tales that will make you fall in love with all the protagonists.
DONNING ON THE REVIEWER HAT
Reviewing this particular book of the author was going to be a challenge for me. The reasons were simple. One, the author was a dear friend. Two, I am the editor of the book! I usually never review the books I have either written or edited because there is always the chance of one getting biased. But, this was the publisher’s special request to me and since I only do unpaid reviews he was sure that I would be writing an honest review. So, that sealed the matter temporarily at least!
Coming back to the book, what stands out is the theme of ‘women through time’- all kinds of women- happy, sad, abused, loving, married, unmarried, victorious, hopeful. The list is just endless. So, that was a plus point as far as the book theme was concerned.
Then, is the author’s genuine attempt at sending across a social message to society via the stories. Each story is a successful endeavour at creating an atmosphere for reform. A book of fictional stories need not be written with a desire to convey anything. After all, all that a writer wants is to pen down her/his thoughts and emotions on paper and weave a string of imagination around it. Why bother to add a message to it? Neelam Saxena Chandra instead, takes this story collection as an opportunity to weave her imagination around society’s latent problems.
Each story is different. While In Pursuit Of A Suitable Guy is the look out of a woman for her soul mate, The Coming Of Laxmi is about the rampant abortion of the female foetus and sex determination in today’s society.
“You are having a baby in your stomach and it is hitting you with its legs and hence you are crying!” Revathi exclaimed in one breath.
Vijaya smiled. How innocent and naive was the world of children. Revathi was only three years old and she formed her own theory of why she was crying!”
Another Chance is a brilliant attempt at exposing the danger and hypocrisy of child marriage.
“The girls of the family should not argue. Too much of argument is not good for women folk,” stated her ammi.
Reflections From The Past is a lovely combination of single parenthood, child labour and horror. One gets to enjoy this story for the myriad emotions that it portrays.
The Return Of The Daughter is about society’s prejudice against abused women. It is about the deception of marriage in some unfortunate women’s lives.
It is not that the author keeps harping on age old issues. Current problems like sexual abuse by a parent is also incorporated in this collection. Wings Of Hope is one such emotional story.
“I have aged now. I really do not know how long I will live. My husband expired a year back. My children often insist that I should go and stay with them. But this home is my world. And when children like Shiya come and ask for my blessings, I feel that I have had life well-lived. When my turn comes to bid adieu to this world, I will not have any regrets.”
For parents who have not been blessed with children, adoption is the only beautiful way out. But, what if the person adopting was not at all married and, was not a woman too? Filling In The Blanks is one such beautiful story.
Loving without strings attached is not easy. For most people, you have to get something to give something in return. The Hangover is one such tale where the woman protagonist sets a man thinking about the real meaning of love.
Bolstering Bonds is about physical abuse caused by loved ones and then, overcoming it. It is a story about bravery and courage.
If a story collection can have so many interesting topics can a thriller be far behind. In The Killer’s Hands is one such story about a serial killer and what it means to love such a person.
Sand Clock is about removal of chauvinistic ideas and reform in a couple’s life by way of adoption.
Finally, The American Dreams proves to be the icing on the cake of this unique story collection. Read it to know more.
STYLE OF AUTHOR
The author’s style of story-telling is simple and reaches the heart of the readers. No hi-funda, intellectual stuff here. Simple tales of love, abuse and valour narrated well. If you are looking for a small book to warm you up during rainy weather or cold sunshine then, this is the book!
INTRODUCTION TO THE AUTHOR
Neelam Saxena Chandra, an Engineer by profession, works for the Indian Railways. She shares a world of word fantasy thanks to her incurable passion of writing poetry and fiction. Around six hundred of her stories/poems have been published in various leading Indian as well as international magazines, anthologies and journals. She has many books to her credit which include novels, poetry anthologies and children’s books. Her stories/poems have been transmitted by Akashwani (Radio) also. Neelam has been nominated by Forbes India Magazine among the 100 most well known authors.