Title: The Little Monk and Other Stories
Author: Gaurahari Das
Publisher: Rupa & Co.
MRP: Rs 95/-
Reading this book was akin to a pleasant journey to Odisha and a very fulfilling experience in exploring the state’s culture and traditions. The stories throw a lot of light on the life and customs of the state, the rural one in particular. Gaurahari Das is a well known name in Oriya literature. This prolific writer and a recipient of ‘Odisha Sahitya Akademi Award’, has till date authored over 40 titles!
Coming to this book, it is an anthology of 14 stories that were originally written in author’s mother tongue and have been translated beautifully in English. The translation is simple and easy on mind and is free of clichés, grammatical mistakes and irritatingly long sentences. Characters are portrayed well and one can relate to them effortlessly.
Five stories revolve around the elderly and their feelings. The title story, ‘The Little Monk’ is a heart touching account of a child forced to become a monk, his miserable conditions and sordid feelings towards the suffocating sanctuary. ‘Father’, which describes the mixed feelings of an educated but jobless man praying for the early death of his father, shows the deplorable effects of unemployment and poverty. ‘Settling Scores’ is yet another sixer from the author! A high rank government official is given a befitting reply by his ex girlfriend and is shown his real place. While ‘The Glass Puppet’ can literally move one to tears, ‘The illusive Tree’ is easy and comic. Apart from being powerful in concept and narrative, stories like ‘Ahalya’s Wedding’ and Urmila’ reveal a lot and can swirl your emotions.