RUKHSAT THE DEPARTURE
Where a story stops, another one begins. The thing with them is, they never walk alone. They always walk with a group of friends. Each reaches its own climax. Then with a final gasp of mortality and despair, fade away. No, they never die, they multiply. To the extent that the original gets lost and new ones are born. Over and over again. Yes, they get lost. No, they never die. They live on, permanently etched in the book of time. And from there, we borrow them and bring them alive. Again. And again. Here are twenty six of them, some standing alone and some chatting up with their long lost friends. When they depart, they leave a lingering fragrance of nostalgia and curiosity. What happened then? Twenty-six alphabets, twenty-six names, and twenty-six short stories. Each exploring one unique emotion, taking you into the dark recess of the mind. Some frothy and most of them dark. Most standing alone and some facing a mirror, where the same story comes alive in two different ways, through two different protagonist . Meet myriad characters – from the single-minded prostitute to the man on the railways station bereft of any memory; a woman desperate for a biological child to a dead man’s trial. Meet a jealous lover with a twisted brain and a gay man’s memory of a one-night encounter. Meet twenty-six such characters arrested and sentenced for life inside the pages of a book. Each one leaving an indelible mark on your soul.
Born to Bengali parents in Lucknow, I grew up in Patna where I finished my post-graduation in Psychology and ended up becoming a tour operator instead of a Psychologist! Which was good since a Bengali born in UP and reared in Bihar does not make a great Psychologist! Am I now glad to be in tourism? It has taken me all over the world including places you would have never heard of. Eh? How about Tlacotalpan? It’s in Mexico. Destiny had other plans as well so I became a reluctant healer. A crazy Shaman in Mexico set the ball rolling and it has rolled all the way to Delhi. Today I both heal as well as read Tarot cards. My wife thinks I am mad. My friends think I am weird. I guess I am book. My first story was published in a magazine when I was seventeen. The Editor made such a hash of it that I stopped sending out my stories but I continued writing. Then I broke my heart and started writing poems; first in Hindi and then in English. All personal collection. They still remain personal. I do shudder when I read some of them! Then the short stories came back and written over two years – now is a collection.
Review: Rukhsat the Departure by Sujit Banerjee has 26 short stories with 26 characters that take the readers into the strange condition where narration comes in two ways, through 2 protagonists with stories woven on mysteries. It is an exceptional collection of stories. From the forms of revenge, love and hate to criminal events, ruthless experiments with innumerable characters of a prostitute to the guy on the railway station from a lady anxious to a departed man’s trial, from a lover with a distorted brain to a gay man’s memories of a one-night encounter. The central themes of the stories are tragic and negative, with misfortune against the characters that contains genres and atmospheres completely different but equally enjoyable to read. With well-written stories the book has a sequence of emotions, unexpected to the reader with issues, dramatic and upsetting described with irony with very forceful stories, structured to entice the reader to read them with vitality. The reading is smooth and what transpired from the novel is the meaning that nobody is as it seems, each of us hides a part of our character, of being invisible to most people, which languishes dusk, and that comes to light only when and if it is exposed.
I write a lot, which keeps me off the streets and out of trouble. There is always something to write about, always a new story to craft. Not writing, for me, is like trying to hold back a sneeze. Learning to write was the most powerful influence in my life. I can still remember the awe I felt when I realized I could put real words onto paper and tell out a story. From that first ‘a-ha’ moment I knew I wanted to write.
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