by Monica Arora

A fistful of Earth

  • Paperback: 244 pages
  • Publisher: Rupa Publications
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 8129135094
  • ISBN-13: 978-8129135094

By far, short stories have been amongst my favourite genres in prose. Capturing a brief anecdote, tale or fable, these pieces of fiction are usually defined by a beginning, climax and an end, and could be with or without a message. Recently, I have been indulging in the work of several Indian short story writers, and my journey continues with A Fistful of Earth and other stories.

Siddhartha Gigoo, the author, a Kashmiri born in Srinagar, sets his tales of poignancy and sadness in his birthplace. What struck me most was the innate sense of loss, despair, profound grief and sorrow that haunt each story. Such is the lilting quality of his mesmerizing prose that even misery appears ennobling and redeeming in these tales. The manner in which Siddhartha has adopted pain and heartache almost reflects a kind of yearning of an unrequited and unhappy soul. This is very relatable, considering that for long, Kashmir  has been a metaphor for the suffering and atrocities inflicted upon its paradisaical soil owing to terrorism, fundamentalism and mindless violence, bloodshed and killing of native Kashmiris.