Short stories collections by Indian authors have not ceased to appear; however, the frequency of such works, to be honest, has certainly decreased. Most of the emerging literary enthusiasts are using their potential to produce novels and some others are indulged in verse. Short stories, sadly, remain only occasional occurrences and, even the rare incidents of production of a collection of short stories doesn’t bring that literary depth with itself. Biswajit Banerji’s recent short story collection, Happimess, has appeared as one of those rare literary events and readers, if they are seeking something different and triggering, can certainly enjoy this one because it happens to be written in a style that will let the readers explore hidden sides of human emotions.
“By the end of this book, the reader will be able to happily reconnect with the mean and wicked part of one’s inner self, an area that remains grossly overlooked and underestimated and one that really holds so much potential for the cultivation of a well-balanced society.”
The author claims and if a person reads the collection of ironical, satirical and humorous short stories by Biswajit, the ending impression will be something near to what the author predicts. The short stories by Biswajit emerge from common episodes of very common lives. The author is present himself, suggestively, in the short stories as he passes those satirical and darkly illuminated humorous comments about characters, their emotions and their expectations.
“I have often caught several of my colleagues staring vacantly at their own feet and mumbling in solitude. I am sure they all are jealous of Mr. Das and have been cursing their own damn legs for being so healthy and sure-footed.”
These lines are there in a short story entitled From Bad to Sordid. And you can see that this story is written in first-person. Likewise, most of the short stories are very direct, told by a person present in the stories and mostly with theme and plots that will help the readers easily recognise, associate and project the events around them, in real… characters, their flaws, their hopes and expectations, emotional dimensions… everything one can imagine about short stories is there in the basic format. Realism, in short, should be there in plenty; realism, sadly, has become a quality largely absent from contemporary casual literature in India.
Biswajit Banerji’s short story collection will let readers enjoy and celebrate human emotions. This is the quality that enhances the depth of a piece of literature and let the readers feel a connection between what they read and what they generally think. The decaying or almost sidelined short story genre in India needs more supporting pillars like this author and more productions like Happimess. While I am sure the readers will like this, I am also sure that the readers who are very aligned with the traditional line of fiction might not approve of this grim realism…
To cut short this flow and conclude this piece, Happimess might be an ideal bet for those who understand what unorthodox but impressive themes mean. Biswajit Banerji’s contribution will be very helpful not only for the genre but also for the interest in literature in general.
by Anand for Indian Book Critics