Unlikely Tails is a collection of short stories by Mani Padma. This happens to be her solo debut and she does a fairly good job. The book contains seventeen short stories within 125 pages. However there are actually eighteen stories as two stories are numbered five in the index as well as inside the book which is a serious blunder on the part of proof readers.
I generally don’t read short stories but short stories can be a good option to read during spare time when you are hard pressed for time to read a lengthy novel. The book is a really interesting one and can be a good choice for the ones looking to read some short stories. The stories have unexpected endings and sudden twists make them an interesting read. The stories are really short but are well crafted. The author has a good vocabulary and that makes reading the book a delight. Most of contemporary Indian writers use rather plain language or sometimes Hinglish. And so Mani Padma’s use of good vocabulary comes like a fresh and pleasant change.
Rejection, loneliness and death is the recurring theme in most of the stories. The opening story ‘Prince Charming’ is about the excitement of a young woman when she thinks she has met the man of her dreams at a party only to realize later that the man was so full of himself that he only talked about his dreams, his achievements but didn’t bother to ask anything about her. ‘Eight Days with Sushil’ is quite touching which describes the eight days a depressed girl spends with her old friend who lights up her life with his love and attention but little did she knew that he himself was under severe depression. Only if she too would have paid attention, she could have saved him.
‘Harmony’ is about music bringing two unhappy souls together. ‘Pammi’s Escort Service’ is about the biased and dirty mindset of a male who sees woman as a commodity. ‘Date with Future’ is a satire on relationships in the era of reality shows. ‘Sabjiwallah’ is a story that falls in the horror genre. ‘Broken Heart’ is about a old woman who recalls how she broke someone’s already broken heart. ‘Breakfast’ is about a woman in a loveless marriage who looks for some love and excitement outside marriage.
‘In Pursuit of Fame’ deals with the parental pressure. ‘Bhaavya’ gives you an insight into the mind of a mentally unstable woman. ‘The Perfect Plan’ is about a meticulously planned murder. ‘Dull-Iance’ talks about the bride seeing ceremonies before fixing an arranged marriage. ‘Keep the Change’ again talks about marriage and money. ‘The End’ gives us an important message that in any given situation, we have the power to choose our reaction.
The stories definitely make for an interesting read. The book is hardbound and paper quality is excellent. It is thin and well- produced, making it easy to read. If you are looking for some good short stories to read, then go for it.
© 2017 Shaloo Walia All rights reserved