Constructing Imagery in ‘Virtual’ Space
Malashri Lal
ADULTERY AND OTHER STORIES by Farrukh Dhondy Harper Collins, 2011, 265 pp., 299
August 2011, volume 35, No 10

Wit and irreverence are Farrukh Dhondy’s hallmark, and there is plenty of both in this set of rapid-fire short stories. The seventh commandment deters no one it seems. Man, woman, gigolos, e-mail wallahs and such others find endless opportunities to defy the old dictum ‘Thou shalt not commit…’and happily survive through ‘illicit’ relations. What’s more, the whacky circumstances provide lots of mirth, smart talk, way-out locations and gung-ho attitudes. If the ‘vibes’ are electric, anything goes. But watch it; the ‘loser’ may have the last laugh! Dhondy, the masterful writer that he is, picks up the cues in a tech-savvy world but remembers to add the twist in the tail that lights the ultimate spark of a short story. The title narrative features a poet who has been ‘working up the annals of the Raj in verse’. Drunk and decrepit, he hasn’t got much further than the concept ‘Adultery is what adults do’ and he struggles to express his thoughts on ‘the hostile world, floating on illegitimacy.’

A bunch of free-loading people set out in quest of ‘history’ through the colonial graveyard route of Indian towns. Predictably an ancient aunt is the professed cause for a search, but less predictably Indians can match the Brits in laying red herrings or designing a wild goose chase!

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