It’s an anthology that sparkles with brilliance, says reviewer Mythily Ramachandran
By Mythily Ramachandran
Who can understand a woman better than another woman?
RK Biswas’s Breasts and Other Afflictions of Women, a collection of short stories is ample testimony to this. Comprising of 32 stories that have been published individually in India and globally, the book dwells on women from different walks of life, cuts across ages and brings out the resilience which women are known for.
This mixed bag of stories opens with a sensitive story told most beautifully in “Breasts”. A simple phone call in the dead of the night can be ominous and when Ila learns that it is a perverted prankster at the other end of the line, she disconnects the line with just a word, ‘Idiot’. As the story progresses, Biswas brilliantly changes Ila’s mood into a tender moment. This poignant story is my favourite.
A nondescript morning meanders through a busy road smack in the middle of a traffic snarl. Sun rays fall like rain on a young man walking without energy, his shoulders sloping downhill, their mantle of dejection pressing against his collarbones.
The young man has a dark blue striped shirt on, rolled up at the sleeves. His black jeans hang loosely from his hips. His shoes which were shiny in the morning are now covered with a film of sparrow coloured dust. He could be anywhere between twenty one and twenty nine. He could be an itinerant salesman; a medical representative, a computer mechanic, an-out-of-work engineer or an MBA on a sabbatical. The air of hopelessness around his thin body, in the forward tilt of his forehead that speaks of the futility of finding anything remotely good and positive in the world, could belong to anyone.