Do circumstances make a person? Do we have answers to every question life throws at us?
In the anthology 'A Wanderer's Vibes' Jyoti Taskar presents 29 short stories, many of which evoke these questions. The characters and situations are varied. The stories are short, well structured, sensitive and simple a melange of all the human emotions that the author has garnered through people she has met.
Abhinav a well established doctor is faced with consequences he had not anticipated; baby Jai stirs the mother in Gauri; Mithee who lives in the red light area has an additional burden; the protagonist of the fourth story faces a dilemma as she takes a train journey to Jullundur in the grim days of the war.
These and the other stories of joys, hopes, surprises and poignant moments in the lives of people reveal the strange turn life can take. The writer does not try to give any answers or explanations for what happens but just tells the tale as it unfolds. The reader at times must read between the lines and allow personal experience to gather purport of the story.
These anecdotes will lead you into a domain of thought about life and its many mysteries. The themes will continue to linger in the mind long after you have put the book down.
Jyoti Taskar is based in Mumbai. She completed her medical education at B J Medical College, Pune, obtaining MD (Gynaecology) from Pune University and later M A (English) from Mumbai University. She enjoys theatre and music.
The varied and beautiful stories in Ek Trunk Ek Valkati' which are like a fragrant bouquet of flowers gifted to readers by Dr Jyoti Taskar, are worthy of sincere praise. This is her first anthology to be published but I must say that one does not see any sign of an amateur writer in her work. Over the last twenty years I have had the opportunity of reading her stories and publishing some of them. Jyoti Taskar is a doctor but her stories are not straight laced into the 'doctor-patient-ward boy-medicines' mode. In fact, only four or five stories in this collection have her profession as a base. The other tales are a reflection of life, often soul stirring and shocking.
Edgar Allan Poe is considered to be foremost in the world of English language stories. The ideal short story he felt should be short enough to be read in its entirety in one sitting. If we accept Poe's description of the ideal story, then Jyoti Taskar's stories deserve a ten on ten. Even if her stories compel the reader to finish reading in one go, the emotional content continues to disturb for a long time.
Taskar's style is simple and lucid. The events in the story do not linger on unnecessarily. The introduction, middle and end are closely knit, like a well 'structured play. She does not go into minute descriptions or probable reasons for the stories. She tells the tale as it is. It is up to the reader to use imagination and personal experience to unravel any mysteries in the narrative. Taskar manages perfectly to encourage the reader to experience the joy of reading between her lines. The young hero of `Ek Trunk Ek Valkati' (A Wanderer's Vibes), Namdeo comes to the city to seek his fortune. With the help of his friend he stays as a 'paying guest' in the home of the Pawar family. As time goes by, he finds love in the young daughter of the house. The reader, at this point, is poised to accept the `all's well' result, when suddenly the story does an about turn. Adding the weight of his sweet but short vibes to his bag and baggage, Namdeo slips out of the house in the mild glow of dawn-unseen, unheard. The reader is stunned by this unexpected turn, but the writer does not endeavour to discuss the inevitability of the end. There are some more of these stories in the book that cause unrest and throw up questions that cannot be answered.
Critics may feel that the stories seem to be too short, but as most have been published in daily newspapers the space constraint was necessary. I feel, however, that in this very character of the stories lies the real strength of Taskar's writing. Dr Jyoti Taskar has been writing with dedication for over two decades. What she has to tell society she would perhaps like to do, not with the solemnity of a teacher, but by way of breezy tales. Of course, all her stories are not philosophical. A powerful blend of a broad canvas, lucid style and fine literary quality has given her work a landmark status.
Dr Jyoti Taskar must write a lot more. This collection of her stories undoubtedly leads me to feel that way.
I sincerely wish her all the best in her role as a writer.
**Contents and Sample Pages**
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