Short Stories

Mohanaswamy by Vasudhendra

ಮೋಹನಸ್ವಾಮಿ – ಲೇಖಕರು ವಸುಧೇಂದ್ರ (Mohanaswamy by Vasudhendra)

ವಿಮರ್ಶಕರು ಶ್ವೇತಾ ಏಚ್ ಎಸ್

ಶೈಲಿ: ವಸ್ತುಭೂತವಾದ ವಿಷಯ, ಸಣ್ಣ ಕಥೆಗಳು, LGBTQ.
ಮುದ್ರೆ: ಚಂದ ಪುಸ್ತಕ
ISBN: 9789384908249

ವಸುಧೇಂದ್ರ ಒಬ್ಬ ಸಾಫ್ಟ್ವೇರ್ ಎಂಜಿನಿಯರ್ ಆಗಿದ್ದರೂ ಅವರ ಕನ್ನಡ ಪ್ರೇಮ ಅವರಲ್ಲಿನ ಒಬ್ಬ ಕುಶಲ ಬರಹಗಾರನನ್ನು ಹೂರಹಾಕಿದೆ. ಇವರ ಕೃತಿಗಳು ಪ್ರಮುಖವಾಗಿ ಸಣ್ಣ ಕಥೆಗಳು ಹಾಗು ಪ್ರಬಂಧಗಳಾಗಿವೆ. ಕಾದಂಬರಿ ಕೂಡ ರಚಿಸಿದ್ದಾರೆ.   “ಮೋಹನಸ್ವಾಮಿ” ಏಕೆ ವಿಶೇಷವೆಂದರೆ, ಅದು ಪ್ರಸ್ತುತ ಕನ್ನಡ ಸಾಹಿತ್ಯ ಲೋಕದಲ್ಲಿ ಮೊದಲ ಬಾರಿಗೆ ಸಲಿಂಗಕಾಮಿಯ ಪಾತ್ರದ ಸುತ್ತ ನಾಭೀಕರಿಸಿರುವ ಒಂದು ಕೃತಿ. ಈ ಪುಸ್ತಕವು ಲೇಖಕರ ಸ್ವಯಂ ಬಹಿರಂಗಬಡಿಸುವಿಕೆ ಎಂದೂ ನಂಬಲಾಗಿದೆ.

ಮೋಹನಸ್ವಾಮಿ ಹನ್ನೊಂದು ಸಣ್ಣ ಕಥೆಗಳು ಹಾಗು ಒಂದು ಪದ್ಯವನ್ನೊಳಗೊಂಡಿದೆ. ಅದರಲ್ಲಿ ಆರು ಕಥೆಗಳು ಮೋಹನಸ್ವಾಮಿಯ ಕುರಿತಾಗಿದ್ದು ಮಿಕ್ಕವು ಬೇರೆ ಪಾತ್ರಗಳನ್ನು ನಿರೂಪಿಸುತ್ತವೆ. ‘ತುತ್ತತುದಿಯಲ್ಲಿ ಮೊಟ್ಟಮೊದಲು’ ಮೋಹನಸ್ವಾಮಿಯ ಪರಿಚಯಾತ್ಮಕ ಕಥೆಯಾಗಿದ್ದು ಲಿಂಗ ಬದಲಾವಣೆಯ ನಂತರದ ಸಾಮಾಜಿಕ ಜೀವನದಲ್ಲಿ ತನ್ನ ಸತತ ನೋವಿನ ಸೆಲೆಯನ್ನು, ಅಪರಾಧಿ ಮನೋಭಾವನೆಯನ್ನು ಮುಂದಿಡುತ್ತದೆ. ‘ಕಗ್ಗಂಟು’ ಮೋಹನಸ್ವಾಮಿಯು ತನ್ನ ಪ್ರೇಯಸಿಯನ್ನು ಕಳೆದುಕೊಳ್ಳುವ ಹಾಗು ಒಂದು ಹುಡುಗಿಯ ಒಡನಾಟದ ಬಗ್ಗೆಯಾಗಿದೆ.  ‘ಕಾಶಿವೀರರು’ ಬಾಲ್ಯದಲ್ಲಿ ಮೋಹನಸ್ವಾಮಿಯು ಹೇಗೆ ಅವನ ಸ್ನೇಹಿತನಿಂದ ಹಣಕ್ಕಾಗಿ ಬೆದರಿಸಲ್ಪಡುತ್ತಾನೆ ಎಂಬುದಾಗಿದೆ.  ‘ಒಲ್ಲದ ತಾಂಬೂಲ’ ಮೋಹನಸ್ವಾಮಿಯ ಅಂತರಂಗದ ತುಡಿತ, ತಾನೂ ಕೂಡ ಎಲ್ಲರಂತೆ ಭಾವನೆಗಳಿರುವ ಒಬ್ಬ ಸಾಮಾನ್ಯ ಮನುಷ್ಯ ಎಂಬುದರ ಕುರಿತಾಗಿದೆ. ‘ಕಿಲಿಮಂಜಾರೊ’ ಮೋಹನಸ್ವಾಮಿ ತನ್ನನ್ನು ತಾನು ಕಂಡುಕೊಳ್ಳುವುದಾಗಿದೆ. ‘ತಗಣಿ’ಯಲ್ಲಿ ಮೋಹನಸ್ವಾಮಿಯ ಗೆಳೆಯ ಶಂಕರೇಗೌಡ (ಒಬ್ಬ ಟ್ರ್ಯಾನ್ಸ್ಜೆಂಡರ್), ಆತನಿಗೆ ಏನಾಗುತ್ತದೆ ಎಂಬುದಾಗಿದೆ. ‘ದುರ್ಭಿಕ್ಷ ಕಾಲ’ ಈ ನಿರ್ದಯಿ ಕಾರ್ಪೊರೇಟ್ ಜಗತ್ತಿನಲ್ಲಿ ದೇವಿಕಾ ಹಾಗು ವಿನಾಯಕರ ಸರಳ ಸಾಧಾರಣ ಜೀವನದ ಏರಿಳಿತಗಳನ್ನು ಚಿತ್ರಿಸಿದೆ.  ‘ಭಗವಂತ ಭಕ್ತ ಮತ್ತು ರಕ್ತ’ ಧಾರ್ಮಿಕತೆಯ ಧರ್ಮಾಚರಣೆಯ ಮೇಲೆ ನೋಟ ಬೀರುತ್ತದೆ . ‘ಪೂರ್ಣಾಹುತಿ’ಯಲ್ಲಿ ಟೆಕ್ನಾಲಜಿ ಸಾಮಾಜಿಕ ಜಾಲತಾಣದ ನ್ಯೂನತೆ ಹಾಗು ಮೂರ್ಖತನದ ನೈಜ ಚಿತ್ರಣ ರೂಪಿಸುತ್ತಾರೆ. ‘ದ್ರೌಪದಮ್ಮನ ಕತ್ತಿ’ ಪಂಚ ಪತಿಯರ ಪತ್ನಿಯಾದ ದ್ರೌಪದಿಯ ಮಾನಸಿಕ ಗದ್ದಲವನ್ನು ಸಾರುವ ಕಥೆಯಾಗಿದೆ. ‘ಇವತ್ತು ಬೇರೆ’ ಸಂಬಂಧಗಳ ಬಾಧ್ಯತೆ, ಅದರ ಮಿತಿ ಹಾಗು ಅನುಮತಿಗಳ ಕಥೆ ಹೇಳುತ್ತದೆ.

“ಮೋಹನಸ್ವಾಮಿ” ಹಲವು ಪಾತ್ರಗಳ ಜೀವನದ ಕುರಿತು ಹೊಸ ಹೊರನೋಟ ಸೂಸುವ ಒಂದು ವಿಶಿಷ್ಟ ವ್ಯಾಖ್ಯಾನವಾಗಿದೆ. ಇಲ್ಲಿನ ಪಾತ್ರಗಳು ನಮ್ಮ ದೈನಂದಿನ ಜೀವನದ ಒಂದು ಭಾಗ. ಲೇಖಕ ವಸುಧೇಂದ್ರರವರು ತಮ್ಮ ಕೃತಿ ಮೋಹನಸ್ವಾಮಿಯಲ್ಲಿನ ಸಣ್ಣಕಥೆಗಳ ಮೂಲಕ LGBTQ ಗೆ ಸೇರಿದ ಜನರು ಎಲ್ಲರಂತೆ ಸಾಮಾನ್ಯ ಮನುಷ್ಯರು ಅವರ ಭಾವನೆ, ಮಿಡಿತಗಳು ಅವರ ಲಿಂಗದ ಮೇಲೆ ಪ್ರಭಾವಿತ ಪ್ರೇರಣೆಗಳಷ್ಟೇ ಎಂದು ಹೇಳಲಿಚ್ಛಿಸಿದ್ದಾರೆ.  ಮೋಹನಸ್ವಾಮಿ ಪಾತ್ರವು LGBTQ ಬಗ್ಗೆ ಹೇಳಿದರೆ ಮಿಕ್ಕ ಸಣ್ಣ ಕಥೆಗಳ ಪಾತ್ರಗಳು ಆಧುನಿಕತೆ ಎಂಬುದು ನಮ್ಮ ಜೀವನವನ್ನು ಸುಧಾರಿಸುವ ಬದಲು ಹೇಗೆ ಸರ್ವವ್ಯಾಪಿಯಾಗಿ ಹಾಳುಮಾಡುವತ್ತ ಸಾಗುತ್ತಿದೆ ಎಂದು ನಿದರ್ಶಿಸುತ್ತವೆ.   ಕನ್ನಡ ಸಾಹಿತ್ಯದಲ್ಲಿ ಈ ರೀತಿಯ ಹೊಸ ಪ್ರಯತ್ನಕ್ಕೆ ಮುನ್ನುಡಿ ಬರೆದ ವಸುಧೇಂದ್ರರಿಗೆ ಅಭಿನಂದನೆಗಳು. ಕನ್ನಡ ಓದಲು ಬರುವ ಎಲ್ಲರು ಓದಲೇಬೇಕಾದ ಕೃತಿ ಇದು.

ವಿಮರ್ಶೆಯನ್ನು ಕನ್ನಡಕ್ಕೆ ಅನುವಧಿಸಿದವರು ಜಗದೀಶ್ ಟ್ ಸ್
Book review is translated into Kannada by Jagadeesh T S

Given below is the English translation of the book review given above.

Review by Shwetha H S

Genre: Nonfiction, Short Stories, LGBTQ
Imprint: Chanda Pustaka
ISBN: 9789384908249

Vasudhendra is a software engineer turned writer who professes his love for his mother tongue Kannada. Though he has written a novel, a major part of his works include short stories and essays. The reason why Mohanaswamy is special, especially in Kannada literature, is because it is a foremost work in modern times to be prominently focussed on a gay character. It is also said that this book was a coming-out-of-closet for the author himself.

Mohanaswamy consists of eleven short stories and a poem. Out of which six short stories are about Mohanaswamy, and remaining have different lead characters. Thutthatudiyali Motthamodalu is the introductory story about Mohanaswamy and tells you about the constant nagging guilt of being gay in this society. Kaggantu is about how Mohanaswamy loses his lover and partner to a girl. Kashiveeraru shows you how Mohanaswamy gets blackmailed by a childhood friend for money. Ollada Tambula tells you about how Mohanaswamy too is a normal human being and has needs and feelings like everybody. Kilimanjaro is about Mohanaswamy finding himself. Tagani shows you what happens to Mohanaswamy’s friend, Shankaregowda, a transgender. Durbhiksha Kaala is a glimpse into the seemingly simple lives of Devika and Vinayaka in this ruthless corporate world. Bhagawantha, Bhakta Matthu Rakhta is about facade of being religious. Poornahuti paints a candid picture of the downside of technology, social media and stupidity. Draupadammana Kathi is a take on Draupadi’s turmoil of having five husbands. Ivatthu Bere tells you about the limits and grants of obligations of relationships.

Mohanaswamy is a fresh outlook into the lives of various characters. People like these characters are part of our daily life. Through Mohanaswamy’s short stories, Vasudhendra shows readers that people belonging to LGBTQ are also humans, but only with exchanged emotions, feelings and genders. If Mohanaswamy, a character, tells you about LGBTQ, then the characters in the other short stories take you on a journey of showing how modern life has ruined everything for us instead of making things better. Kudos to Vasudhendra for such a bold initiative in Kannada literature. A must read for all people who can read Kannada.

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The Curious Case of Benjamin Button by F Scott Fitzgerald

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button by F Scott Fitzgerald

Review by Shwetha H S

Genre: Fiction, Short Story

F Scott Fitzgerald is an American author who had his own style of writing in retro times. He did not follow others style and his readers appreciated his ways. F S Fitzgerald is known for many works of the budding modern America, but most famous are The Great Gatsby and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.

Roger Button fathers an unusual child. The child is born seventy-years old with hair strands meant to be on his head on his chin. The child is lean and wobbly like an old man, and is able to get along well with his grandfather than new born babies. This bizarre occurrence rattles Roger Button and makes him try hard to show an old man as a baby. As time passes, the baby now named Benjamin Button, starts looking younger and younger. When Benjamin starts appearing like a fifty-year old man, Hildegarde Moncrief falls in love with him and marries him. His phenomenon of reverse aging makes him look younger day-by-day and his wife look like his mother. Later he even starts looking like his own son, Roscoe Button. What Benjamin does with his rare life is the story to be read.

While reading The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, leave your rationality behind. For the love of logic, you don’t know how a seventy-year old man came out of the vagina of a female human being. Apart from that, this story is a good read and can be read in a single sitting.

The Muse’s Fables: The Fondom of Ufasino Collection by Rachel Nkyete Nyambi

The Muse’s Fables: The Fondom of Ufasino Collection by Rachel Nkyete Nyambi

Review by Shwetha H S

We all are aware of Aesop’s Fables, which the famous ones in their genre. Rachel Nkyete Nyambi presents the Muse’s Fables, which are set in sub-Saharan Africa. True to the nature of fables, each one in this anthology will teach not only children but also adults how to live and let live. This collection of Muse’s Fables has nine stories.

You will meet Nkoh the bully, a disobedient Khola the Antelope, Prince Nyamekye and Pendo, a jealous Zuli, Nduru the squirrel and Mboma the snake, the Princess Bride Kagiso and simple Balondemu, Enam who comes to Baka, Kiburi who wants marry Prince Chinua, and friends turned lovers Chidi and Kianga. Apart from the fables, the best part of this book is the glossary at the end; this truly gives a glimpse into the culture of African countries. As an added bonus, you get to read a few poems from Rachel’s upcoming poetry collection.

Fables are meant to teach you lessons of life and the Muse’s Fables don’t fail in serving their purpose. One can read them to revive their childhood or read them to children. Either way, fables are welcome to our lives at any phase.

A is for Apocalypse (Edited by Rhonda Parrish)

A is for Apocalypse (Edited by Rhonda Parrish)

Review by Venkatesha M

A collection of 26+1 short stories was the first reason to pick up this book for reading. As the name suggests stories were weaved around apocalypse genre. Each story in the book is different in its own way; few plots fit very well to be extended to full length novels. Each story is written by a different author and all together edited by Rhonda Parrish.

Themes vary from end of civilization, deadly disease, nuclear war, catastrophe, vampire, epidemic virus, music, immortal souls and many more. “U is for Umbrella” is one perfect match with apocalypse theme with contemporary storytelling. This is about a mother and her daughter during last few days before an asteroid hitting Earth. This story perfectly explains how a common man could think of end of the World in current situation. My favourite from the this book is “V is for Vellum” which talks about preserving knowledge for the next generation and also the importance of Hope. There are other aspects in this story which I would leave it to other readers to explore. “K is for Kickstarter” is a different one in which entire story is in form of online comments. I also liked “D is for Dosimeter” and “E for Earth station 6”.

I enjoyed reading all the stories from this book; interesting part is that the title is revealed at the end of respective story. Though you might feel that the mood is gloomy, you will be amazed with the way different authors have expressed the feelings in form of stories. This is a must read for those who would like to pick up a short story collection and also for those who love sci-fi fiction.

The Vigil and Other Stories by Gita V Reddy

The Vigil and Other Stories by Gita V Reddy

Review by Shwetha H S

I must applaud Gita V Reddy for writing the Vigil and Other Stories. Except three, almost all the short stories are about women, no doubt about that. No, not about successful or famous women like in Almost Famous Women by Megan Mayhew Bergman. The Vigil and Other Stories talk about the daily plight of women who seem to be normal and lead regular life, not for themselves but for the sake of others. If the Vigil is about a pregnant woman who is getting used to behave like one and stay away from her promising career, then the Gift is about the power of love of an innocent woman. Time and Space is about an old woman who has been taken for granted by her family. This way, there are fifteen stories that tell you what a woman goes through every day. The stories talk about caste system and domestic violence too. My personal favourite is Sita’s Lives. Here, the author has interpreted the sorrow and the thoughts in Sita after she was exiled by her Ram when she was pregnant. I have not seen any television show or read any book that has described this phase of Sita from her point of view. This interpretation will slowly gnaw and eat you up as you read the story. So powerful are the thoughts, they will make you see the whole Ramayan in a different light.

“When you banish me, you who are maryadapurushottham will be writing a law which will render innocent women of coming generations homeless and destitute.” – Sita in her thoughts for Ram

A must read. Don’t miss out on this wonderful anthology.

Second Heart by Dr. Sandeep G Huilgol and Santosh Avvannavar

Review by Shwetha H S

Second Heart is not about organ donation or claiming myths about second-hand heart. It talks about the pair of kidneys in every human being that too help in regulating blood and its flow. Therefore, kidneys are termed as our second heart. This book is a compilation of five short stories that tell you why it is important to take care of your kidney’s health too.

Unforgotten Love, Love That Returned and Faith is a story of a doctor, who ignored his own health and lost his kidney functionalities. Hope tells us about various ways in which kidney can fail. Love, War and Faith reminds you not to ignore any illness symptoms. God, Freewill and Lucifer: Battle Ground shows what happens if you take your body for granted and abuse it. Shalom is about a girl who is thrown into human trafficking. All the stories have a situation that lead to kidney failure except Shalom. This last story is an odd-man-out in this compilation and you will feel like it has been forcibly stuffed here in this book. There is moral in every story. A good one time read.

इश्क़ में शहर होना, लेखक: रवीश कुमार

For translation of the review in English, please scroll down.

समीक्षा: आशुतोष सिंह

पहली नज़र में किताब के शीर्षक को समझ पाना थोड़ा मुश्किल है | प्रस्तावना पढ़ने के उपरांत आपको शीर्षक का अर्थ समझ आने लगेगा | रवीश लगभग १८ वर्षों से पत्रकारिता की दुनिया में हैं, और आज-कल के सबसे प्रभावशाली और लोकप्रिय हिन्दी टेलिविसन पत्रकारों में शुमार हैं | उन्होने फ़ेसबुक पर ‘लप्रेक’ अर्थात ‘लघु प्रेम कथा’ लिखना शुरू किया | यह किताब उन्हीं ‘लप्रेकों’ का संकलन है |

सारी परिकल्पनायें दिल्ली और एन. सी. आर. के इर्द-गिर्द बुनी हुई हैं | किताब की सारी कहानियाँ आधे से एक प्रष्ठ लंबी हैं | हर एक प्रष्ठ पर दो नये और विभिन्न किरदार, उनके बीच बीता वो पल और एक शहर उनको जोड़ता और कभी-कभी तोड़ता हुआ | एक बड़े शहर में इश्क फरमाने के लिए क्या-क्या करना पड़ता है, कौन कौन सी दूरियाँ तय करनी पड़ती हैं, ऑटो वालों के ‘बेक मिरर’ पर नज़रे गड़ाए रखना और ऐसी ही परेशानियों को रवीश ने बड़े अनूठे ढंग से प्रस्तुत किया है | सारी कहानियाँ व्यवहारिक और सच्ची हैं और यही इनका सबसे बड़ा आकर्षण है | विक्रम नायक द्वारा बनाए चित्र बड़े ही चतुर हैं और हर कहानी को एक नया नज़रिया देते है |

प्रस्तावना से-

‘प्रेम हम सबकको बेहतर शहरी बनता है | हम शहर के हर अंजान कोने का सम्मान करने लगते हैं | उन कोनों मैं ज़िंदगी भर देते हैं | आप तभी एक शहर को नये सिरे से खोजते हैं जब प्रेम में होते हैं | और प्रेम में होना सिर्फ़ हाथ थामने का बहाना ढूँढना नहीं होता | दो लोगों के उस स्पेस में बहुत कुछ टकराता रहता है | लप्रेक उसी कशिश और टकराहट की पैदाइश है |’

 

Translation of the above given review to English:

Review by Ashutosh Singh

It’s difficult to make out the meaning of the title in the first go. You can understand a little bit after going through the introduction. Ravish has been a journalist from past 18 years and he is one of the most influential and loved Hindi Television Journalist in the country right now. He started writing short stories on facebook which he named ‘लप्रेक’ which expands to ‘लघु प्रेम कथा’ (short love story) All the stories are based in an around the Delhi and NCR region. Each story is a half to one page long. Every new page has two new and different character, that moment they spent and a town which often binds but sometimes breaks them. Ravish has uniquely put up the problems of falling in love in a metro city be it traveling a long distance to meet or the auto guy continuously peeping at the couple through that back mirror. All the stories are practical and truthful, and that’s the biggest attraction. Vikram Nayak has very cleverly sketched for each story and which also gives it a new perspective. From Introduction- Love makes us a better citizen. We start respecting all the unknown nooks and corner of the city. We fill those corners with life. You search a city with a new perspective only when you are in love. And being in love doesn’t just means looking for a reason to hold hands. There are many things that collide between those two people. ‘लप्रेक ‘ is an outcome of that charm and collision.

Everything Ravaged, Everything Burned by Wells Tower

Review by Venkatesha M

I had been searching for a good story collection on Quora and I found this book title interesting. I must say that you will not know about the 9 different stories covered in the book by just looking at the title. It’s a modern day fiction portraying broken marriages, unsuccessful men, troubled times, adolescence and so on.

Wells Tower has been successful to mark his way of narration and style of writing. I enjoyed the language and clear sentences throughout the book. You will get to see a second person narrative too. Most of the stories are about sad people; however emotions are captured well without much exaggeration. Being an American writer, author has tried to cover the American culture or the current lifestyle.

My favorites from the book are “Leopard”, “Down Through the Valley” and “Wild America”. Last story which is the title story is about Vikings which you might want to skip if you are not interested. I refrain myself from talking about other stories and leave it to you to explore.

Black, Grey and White by Santosh Avvannavar and Santosh I Biradar

Review by Shwetha H S

There is no beating around the bush with this book of five short stories. The authors claim that these short stories deal with the misconceptions around HIV. But the fifth short story doesn’t have anything to do with HIV and AIDS, even remotely. I guess, the authors didn’t know where to put this short story and just stuffed it in the end. I am not saying it is bad; it is good, but is definitely misplaced.

The first short story, Shahid – the Martyr, throws light upon the killings that occur around the world thinking that would help ailing people get cured. This particularly deals with virgin sacrifices in the name of black magic to get rid of HIV.

The second short story, Chintu: The Earth is Round, tells you how helpless children, who are infected with HIV, are treated by this society as untouchables and this in turn leads to deprivation of basic necessities.

The third short story, A Game of Life, Lust and Death, is about how a woman uses HIV to take revenge on her enemies. I don’t know how this helps in supporting the infected and affected community.

The fourth short story, Highway Sex: A Journey of Hope, explains how having unprotected sex can lead to HIV infection. Through this story, the authors explain how it is not only the infected person who suffers, but also his/her family.

The fifth short story, Abram and His Prodigal Son, is the misplaced story in this book. Anyway, this story tells you how a person in good influence too can turn bad with just a pinch of evil. It is a modern take on the Parable of Lost Son. So, this story won’t disappoint you either.

This book is a good attempt at bringing awareness in our society, which still behaves primitively when it comes to being around HIV infected people, by trying to burst the myth around it. You read it or gift it to someone. Help in raising awareness about HIV.