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Mainstream, Vol XLV, No 42

Brief Narrations of Day-to-Day Realities

by Shiela Gujral

Tuesday 9 October 2007

[(BOOK REVIEW)]

That’s OK, Tammanna and Other Reveries by Dr J. Bhagyalakshmi; Alok Parva Prakashan, New Delhi; pages 176.

It is amazing how Dr J. Bhagyalakshmi, a highly competent professional, could cover a huge field of creative literature with perfect ease and captivate the minds of the readers. So far, I was only aware of the moral and humanitarian aspects of her writings. I had read a very few of her books and seldom any ‘middles’.

That’s OK, Tammanna and Other Reveries, a collection of middles earlier published in various newspapers, is a new revelation to me. It is a marval of brevity, admirable for its elegant style and composition. The humour and wit distilled through dialogue has a long lasting fragrance, which lingers around you. Her brief narrations convey a warm relationship between story and the day-to-day reality of our lives.

INDUCTING Seetu as the central figure depicting the life-long observations of Dr Bhagyalakshmi adds special charm to the narration. Environment, Delhi’s traffic, power cut, water shortage and satire on politicians and administrators are all interlinked to her middles written during the long span of more than a decade. The dates are not mentioned. It is difficult to guess if the description in each middle is the forecast of a social scientist or the observation of the day-to-day happenings. Both ways it is equally interesting.
While the writer has done a good job of the book, the performance of the publisher is miserable. Unnecessarily, some blank pages are left in between whereas the start and the fag end both clamour for one blank page each. The choice of the title of this book is equally disappointing. One could select half-a-dozen better titles from this collection.

In spite of such handicaps, the book is not only worth reading but deserves a niché in the personal library of the reader.

The reviewer is a well-known writer and poet; she writes in English, Hindi and Punjabi.

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