I am reading the book, ‘Paradise and Other Stories’ written
by one of the great Indian writers, Khushwant Singh.
Having read the following four stories from this book,
following is a 2-3 line synopsis of each and my feelings for his work.
– a young foreigner who has indulged in one-night stand of lifestyle as far as
love is concerned and who has run away from family and her other duties seeks
peace by coming to India and spending some Vaikunth Dhaam. But she succumbs to
temptations which are there on the banks of the Holy Ganges as well.
The story depicts
that man becomes weak in front of temptations even when the environment is
clean and pious.
horoscope – a staunch believer in Hindu astrology get married to a girl after
matching his horoscope with her and finds his married life going haywire by
following the strict rules of ‘grihasth’ mentioned in Hindu scriptures.
The story’s motto
is that one must not blindly follow horoscopes and they are not God. One must
be a ‘Karmic’. Horoscopes are often misleading.
singh – a man of courage, power and ambitions. A great orater who fulfills all
his whimsical desires of materialism and power by using wrong means and
exploiting/helping women. He is rumored to be a ‘chaar sau bees’ but silences
his opponents by winning the Bharat Ratna.
a son – a man makes peace with his fickle God when his daughter-in-law delivers
a son after secret visits to the Peer Sahib’s tomb.
Indians are still
very orthodox in desiring a son and not a girl as their offspring, however
modern and educated they may be. The story also depicts how a wife fools her
husband and in-laws to become pregnant and have a baby.
The author’s work is
characterized by dealing with issues that are tender, humorous, factual,
provocative and off course satirical.