Book Review: Tears & Smiles of Human Soul

Stories are a great way to try out new authors. I recently read a  story collection- Tears & Smiles of Human Soul by Om Parkash Jawa. Tears & Smiles of Human Soul is a collection of four stories:

  1. Seeds of deeds
  2. Withering life
  3. Falling bridge
  4. Nemesis

The first story ‘Seeds of Deeds’ is about an old man who along with his granddaughter Gargi abandons his home and move to a desert. But amidst the barren desert, he finds an oasis full of trees and flowers. Seeing the fruit laden mango tree and flowers, he finds peace and joy. He reflects on his own life and realizes that fruits of his own sinful deeds have brought him sorrow and misery while those of plants and trees bring smile, peace and contentment. He repents his past and resolves to return home to lead a virtuous life dedicated to service of others.

The second story Withering Life somewhat portrays the current state of the country. It talks of a fictional land that has weakened due to unwieldy agitations, strikes, demonstrations, communal disharmony, etc. Here again, the author draws a comparison with plants and trees. Plants and trees bloom and flourish because of their strong roots. Similarly, a nation can achieve great heights only if it has a strong foundation i.e. its people are united and jointly work towards its upliftment.

The third story ‘Falling Bridge’ extols the importance of religion and scriptures in purging the society of crime and sinful deeds. The fourth and last story ‘Nemesis’ talks about how a man strays into corrupt practices due to the greed of money. A man may become rich by resorting to corruption but it also debases him. Corrupt practices may bring short term success but his decline is inevitable.

Each story has a moral lesson to teach. The central theme of the stories is the age old law of karma. Through his stories, the author has emphasized on the importance of doing good deeds and leading a virtuous life. Vicious deeds bring misery and good deeds bring joy to the soul. The stories are thought provoking and will make you think and reflect on your own karma.

I have also read and reviewed another book called Sanctity of Life by the author which also had stories on similar theme. The author had witnessed the horrors of partition at a young age as he lost his grand mother and father in partition riots. But inspite of it, the author hasn’t lost faith in humanity. He believes in the goodness of people and through his stories, he wants to spread the message of kindness, peace and harmony.

His stories come with a message of hope. The characters in his story may go astray but they realize their follies and reform by the end. Through his characters, the author conveys that everyone can return to a path of goodness even if he has led sinful life in the past. The author’s faith in mankind and his commitment to make this world a better place through his stories is really commendable.

Now coming to the things which could have been better in the book…

The language of the book is a bit complex. The use of elaborate words and flowery language make it difficult for beginners. I think the author should use a simplified language in case he wants to target the masses.

The author feels passionately about the theme of the stories. His writing comes off as preachy as the author is too heavy handed in his delivery of the story’s theme. The author has important things to say. But if the writing is preachy, readers may disengage.

Inspite of a few shortcomings, the book manages to put across a valuable message. If you want to read a story collection with moral lessons then this is the book for you. I will leave the Amazon link of the book in the description box in case you want to check it out.

P.S. I received a copy of the book from the author in exchange of an honest review.

©2022 Shaloo Walia All rights reserved


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