“Thirty years later, perhaps Guptam would have said “Picture aabhi baki hai mere yaar.” Some of us friends, naturally ageing and balding now, joined him at his house to ruminate the past. “Hang on,” he said and switched on the T.V. The video streamed for the sinners. It was the same old carnival in his room, still joyous. The showmen, as they say, never hang their boots. They just innovate and stay solid.”
This is taken from one of the short stories in the book Ghostbusters and Other Stories by Debadatta Satpathy. And like this (as the statement goes in the quote), the author has also not let his boots be hanged! He is still running the show and the way has just become innovative – one of the guys in the story has become an author and he is letting the readers know the good-bad older days of his life in the form of readworthy short stories which entertain as well as enlighten at times, too. Ghostbusters and Other Stories is mostly the celebration of life and a recount of the bitter-sweet moments which keep the thing called life going smoothly on an uncertain path… never stopping until we breathe the last.
Debadatta Satpathy, as the book and the stories suggest, is an author of occasion rather than an author of the abstract. His short stories are closer to life and liveliness than anything else, to be clear. His personal experiences on the different stages of his life are there in the stories he writes and it’s only his talent and craft and skill that he can make his personal experiences translate into beautiful and enjoyable short stories… sometimes humorous and sometimes serious as well.
Ghostbusters and Other Stories is a collection of ten wonderful short stories and most of them come directly from the life of the author in a guise of fiction. Some of them are pure fiction with humanistic touch which lets the readers connect with the fiction very easily. It serves the purpose of Debadatta as well in keeping the readers involved with his works.
The author has surely a talent in himself and it shows when he makes way for his fictional character to appear on the pages:
“Some people are born leaders. Some have leadership thrust upon them. Some discover leadership accidentally and then use it to their advantage. Till date, I am not sure which group Gobara fell in, probably, a combination of all three. Whatever might be the case, he was a champion. No doubt about it.”
The language used in the lines above is simple and it connects with the readers immediately after the read. And the way a character gets introduced to the readers makes sure that readers have a very good impression of him.
If looking for flaws would be necessary to make a review look critical, I would like to point out that the storytelling technique might be a little better. It’s good, nevertheless, to let the readers have a raw view into the events, but then, what’s the difference between an author and a narrator of the backseat in the classroom?
Full of joy and life and serious issues too, at times, Ghostbusters and Other Stories will surely give you a chance to dive into your past or just dwell in the present and think of the issues on the pages of the book. You can enjoy the short stories by Debadatta and you will surely admire them once you finish the 130 paged book.
Get your copy of the short story collection from the link below and enjoy reading!
review by Amit for Indian Book Critics