Author : Janhavi Archarekar
Publishers: Harper Collins, India
Cost: Rs . 250
A crucible of thirty short stories, Janhavi Archerkar’s debut book Window Seat provides one an interesting contemplation of life in aamchi Mumbai. This relatively recent Harper Collins publication has been appreciation from critics and readers alike
“Providing rush hour stories of the city” Window Seat attempts to portray the captured reality of the bustling city of dreams. Acharekar’s stories invest in the daily life and experiences of ordinary people.
While a few stories may come across as overtly simplistic and slightly abrupt the incredibly flesh and blood characters and pithy diction make it an enjoyable read.
The variety of narrative voices employed in telling the equally versatile anecdotes creative a colourful mosaic of Indian life . Great attention is paid to detail, which rather than making her stories boringly verbose provide an authentic and often hilarious note to them.
Divided in two parts, Mumbai Montage and Mumbai Medley, her stories range from the introspective, poignant to the breezy. A harassed school teacher, a child of the twilight zone, cyberspace courtships, the bride with the distended nose, the weary jostled train commuters all manage to weave their way in her narration. Traversing the ground between fantasy and reality ,Window Seat, is an amalgam of imagined reality and lived experiences.
Though she successfully captures the pneuma of Mumbai , her tales have an element of universality; some or the other sentiment that any reader who has lived in an Indian metro can relate to.
A must read for those who appreciate short stories. For those who are not big fans of this form of writing, Acharekar’s novel could be a good start. Crisp but engagingly so The Window Seat should by no means be dismissed as “literature in a hurry”.
Personal favourites: China, Freedom at Midnight, Miss! , Nose Job