Review of Tales of You, Me and Them Authored by Anju Darshini
‘A collection of short stories dedicated by the author to her native village Keeladi that will take you to a journey of varied people’s life from the eyes of the writer.’
This is a book containing eight different stories with different characters and plot and most of them have the same backdrop that of the village Keeladi. The author first begins the book by giving some insights and view of her native village and her childhood days spent there. The vivid description of the houses, the streets, the people and the whole era that she had witnessed during her childhood days has somewhere remained within her and the description given by her is an intriguing invitation to read the book further.
Then comes the best part is the usage of the native terms that have been used to address various relationships like Ammachi for grandmother, Thaatha for grandfather and so on, it gives the essence of that rootedness of the writer with her culture that she has chosen to use the terms as they are instead of using the English version of them which has increased the traditional flavour much and you experience stories that are based with a modern backdrop somewhere and somewhere the village set up but the people are reflected the way they are addressed in those parts.
It can be clearly seen that Keeladi a small South Indian village in Madurai, remains the main inspiration for this book, but you find stories out of the place as well, as the characters have moved on to some other places but somewhere the connection of their lives have been again shown with this place. And we get the flavour of her place and the village bond of her soul in stories like ‘Her Revelations’, ‘The Keeper of Light’, ‘I Chase my Dreams and ‘The Siren’ more. However the stories have a blend of modern lifestyle and mannerisms with the cultural tradition of South India that can be experienced in all the stories.
Most of the stories are women centric and shows the different shades of their lives, their emotions of both being a rebel and silent at the same time, their dreams, their choices but most of all of their truthfulness. Somewhere there is a modern successful woman who bumps into her ex-lover who is travelling with his new wedded wife and makes the heroine revive in the past for some time and then again choosing the harshest path of letting him go and save his marriage, and somewhere we witness a submissive middle- aged woman who has all the fineries of the world, but is existing in a lonely and a loveless relationship, yet remaining agile for her dreams she keeps the desire burning inside of her and follows those after a long period of her life gone by in fulfilling homely chores and duties of being a nonspeaking identity of her emotions besides being a dutiful wife. Then we see somewhere the rebellious Sarah who remains rock solid with her feelings for her love interest Jason and despite of myriad difficulties of what the people will say, or how the society will react she is able to find him as her husband in the end.
Thus the stories revolve around all kind of women from being blunt with their emotions, to being the most silent one who never uttered a word of insurgent but still acquired the courage to achieve what she wants, to witnessing a successful woman, a concubine, and even a luxury filled life of the most dutiful wife to a most ferocious lover who can go against her own society and people. There are few other themed stories too in this book which are also quite interesting to be read.
The language if has to be talked about, is quite lucid with simple narration that makes it an easy and enjoyable read. However the book has the attention catching element from the very first few pages that begins with the description given by Anju Darshini about the village Keeladi and it is the most enticing reason that will make one want to read this book further. The stories are simple with predictable ending, yet the simplicity of these is the beauty of this book. Then again the characterization has been done wisely, by presenting them the way they had been in the author’s mind while writing the stories. She has chosen to let the characters speak for themselves, their way of thinking, talking and through their feelings and emotions we get the idea of who they are and are able to create the image of their appearances in our own mind.
Plethora’s Verdict: The book ‘Tales of You, Me and Them’ by Anju Darshini has stories that are quite easy to grab and feel resonated with. They sound more of realistic people and their both ordinary and extravagant lives, which is why one can easily feel connected to the characters while reading the book. It’s a book that can be read by all aged group people, with a simple backdrop, everyday people in different situations and I strongly feel this could be a good book to be kept as a companion while travelling or even for a lighter reading at home. Thus I would rate this book with a 4 star rating for its overall content, structure and writing style and would recommend it as a good and enjoyable read.
Anju Darshini likes to capture everyday moments, everyday stories, and believes that life is much more vibrant and colourful than how we usually imagine it to be. She has over 15 years of corporate experience in Brand Management, and Internal & External Communications. She currently leads the Corporate Communications Department of a well-known Automotive IT - MNC in Chennai and she is also part of its Business Leadership Team.