To uncover these multiple layers and disentangle the warp and weft of the story, Ahmad takes the reader on a journey that starts in 1937 in Lahore and ends there in 1976, in the process giving us a glimpse into the creation of not one but two countries, Pakistan and Bangladesh, whose birth is a violent one and coming of age is fraught with brutality and strife amidst the shifting sands of power.
The stories are spicy, and the scope for scandal is much greater because of social strictures.
Cities are imbricated in the minds of the people in multiple ways woven through emotional experiences, subjectivities and various interactions. It is some specific moments of encounter that impinge on one’s mind to shape the imaginaries associated with cities.
The story takes place in 1998, in the sleepy village of Sittanavasal in Tamil Nadu, where Sriveni has led a happy and sensitive childhood with her parents and brothers, aiding her midwife grandmother, and acquiring deep knowledge about plants and herbs.
Brevity is said to be the keynote of a short story, and length admittedly impacts the range of matter dealt with in a brief narrative as well as its treatment. Nevertheless, defining a short story merely in terms of its length does not take into account the flexibility of the genre or the often-profound impression made by a narrative that, though brief, encapsulates an entire experience