Today, I have finished reading Insignificant Me by Prathima K, a short storybook. Reading a collection of short stories is like taking a stroll in a garden in spring. Spring brings all the colours, shades, fragrances and freshness for you. In the same way, a short story book gives you the warmth of emotions, shades of different situations and events, the fragrance of multiple themes and makes you feel fresh. Unlike a full-length novel, you don’t need to wait for hundreds of pages to get over to what transpired to unfold the mystery. Nor do you need to stretch yourself (maybe for a whole night) to finish the novel (because you won’t be able to sleep until you find out the hidden secret). Short stories give you an immediate thrill. And in no time, it takes you to the peak of excitement. Isn’t it interesting? Once you finish one story, you crave for another and then it goes on and on. It happened to me again. As I completed the first story, Two Seconds, I immediately longed for another one. And it did not stop until I read the last and the title one – Insignificant Me.
And I must say, every story is so full of the tints and hues of life experiences of the author that it will not leave you plain. You will feel one with them, most probably.
Insignificant Me is the author’s first book. You can get to this fact once you start reading it. However, every story she has written is profound, sensible and heart-touching. The short stories may seem simple in their approach, explanation, narration and language. However, they leave a good impact on you. I don’t know from where, but this book reminded me of Sudha Murthy’s books. The books that were my partner in my childhood. They are still with me. And to relive my childhood and especially the days of my summer vacation, I take them out from my bookshelf and read. Like Sudha Murthy, Dr Prathima has tried to teach us valuable lessons about life from her own experiences. These are the lessons of perseverance, faith in self, constant practice, and love beyond the convention of couples’ love and self-love.
There is a story, titled Never Ending Saga, that describes the most complicated and the most discussed relationship. The relationship between a mother-in-law and a daughter-in-law. Famous throughout the nation as saas-bahu relationship, here the author talks more from the perspective of a daughter-in-law. And she is Loud and clear here. She focuses on rules and regulations upon which the societal and family structure rests. And her concern is that shouldn’t these rules and regulations synchronise with contemporary demands over time. She also includes the perspective of husbands and how much pain and dilemma they go through in trying to broker peace and harmony between their mothers and wives. That part touched my heart! I am sure many other readers will feel the same.
And the feature story, Insignificant Me, clearly portrays how other people’s opinions affect our decisions. Unsolicited opinions by others also put speed breakers in the path of our growth. Everyone has his own set of thoughts, feelings, emotions, flaws, insecurities, and struggles. Some are open about it, and some prefer to stay in a close shell like a turtle. It is a common truth. However, it is your life. And it is only yours. Hence, it is important to see it through your eyes. What you see, what you feel, what you understand, what you accept, what you leave, what you do, how you react and how you respond is all your individual choice and decision. And this is why every human being is unique.
The author has turned the anecdotes from her own life into impactful short stories. It compensates for the wholesome process of literary creation. The narrative and thematic parts of this collection may see opportunities for improvement. The choices of episodes, the ideas behind short stories, the selection of themes – everything is in a well-thought order that inspires the readers to read more.
Now concluding my review, I would say Dr Prathima’s book succeeded in meeting my expectations. As I said earlier, it is her first book, and you can see that some stories lack apt descriptions. However, within her limitations as an author and juggling several roles in her life (importantly as a full-time doctor), she has done better than my expectations. Insignificant Me is my recommendation to anyone who wants to read meaningful literature. It may not entertain as a thriller novel. However, it will be more than many ‘likewise’ novels together. Dr Prathima discusses life and its various aspects with her well-arranged thoughts. You will find it interesting, full of learning and comforting.
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Review by Parakashtha for Indian Book critics
Insignificant Me by Dr Prathima – Book Review
- IBC Critical Rating
Insignificant Me by Dr Prathima is a collection of life experiences in the form of short stories. This book is not only interesting and entertaining in fragments but also very helpful in realising what we might be missing in our lives in various roles that we play every day!