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Myriad Hues


Jaskiran Chopra

THE MAD TIBETAN: STORIES FROM THEN AND NOW
By Deepti Naval
Amaryllis, New Delhi, 2011, pp. 159, Rs.395.00

VOLUME XXXVI NUMBER 5 MAY 2012

Reading the short stories by Deepti Naval can be quite an exhilarating experience. In each story, one can feel the aesthethic sensibility that has helped her emerge as a multi-faceted artistic personality who can interpret and use each medium of expression to her advantage, be it acting, painting, photography or writing. There is a new world that opens up to the reader in every tale and at times, it becomes difficult for us to disengage ourselves and step out of that world. Long after the story is over, its landscape and characters stay in our mind and sometimes take on a life of their own. Sincerity, simplicity and sensitivity are the three most dominant strands that run through Deepti’s flowing narration. From the intense sadness and poignance of a fading life in ‘ The Piano Tuner’ to the agony of a tragic childhood in ‘Sisters’; from the dark scenario of ‘Premonition’ to the nightmarish reality of ‘Thulli’, the author deftly weaves her stories, creating feelings including those of pity, joy, fear, sympathy, terror, admiration, hope and affection in our hearts. Deepti’s eye for detail is evident in each story, whether it has an urban or rural back-drop. The language is poetic and her romantic sensibility finds expression in many places in the stories. Her love for nature, for the mountains and rivers, flowers and the moon, the sky and the rain manifest itself in some way or the other in most of the stories. The fascinating Delhi winter, the Mumbai monsoon, the Ladakh blizzards, the mountain air (mentioned in many a story), the cool October breeze in New York, take us into a world which we have all experienced some time or the other. These are the soft nuances which give a painter’s and photographer’s touch to the backdrop of the stories. The theme of seeking the unsought, going to remote places, exploring the external to discover the internal also runs through Deepti’s writing. Deepti is a keen traveller and thus naturally Travel becomes an important element in her fictional world. The nomad in her comes out quite often while writing. Vas in ‘Premonition’ is travelling, the protagonist in ‘Birds’ goes on a journey by air. Again, in ‘The Morning After’, Lily goes on a trip, by bus, to Ghuggar, ‘a deep valley surrounded by mountains on all sides.’ Mountain rest houses, simple hill folk, quaint ...


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