Thursday, October 8, 2020

Dozen Pebbles Washed Ashore by Life by Aura Bhattacharjee (Book Review: 3*/5)


34th Book of 2020..


Well, recently I have ended up reading couple of anthologies so this time I thought of reading something which isn’t the usual stuff and talks about something that is really motivated towards some commonalities in all the stories. Hence, I picked up Aura Bhattacharjee’s “Dozen Pebbles Washed Ashore by Life” which comprises of 12 different stories – all talking mainly about women and their lifestyles and thoughts. All of us know the kind of sacrifices a woman makes to keep everyone happy around her and hence reading about how a woman feels herself of this is always a curiosity. 


An anthology makes sense if all the stories are somewhere tied up with each other otherwise it just looks like compilation of several unrelated stuffs bought together just for the sake of publishing a book. Authoress have kept a good care of this and all the story somewhere seems connected – either by the warmth that all of them carry or the set-up in which they are scripted. Though the stories are short of around 7-9 pages – still, they have so much to say and deliver that you shall be able to relate it with your life or situations that you have been in.


Aura has used very simple language while writing this book which makes its target audience wider – it can be read by anyone right from an 8 years old kid to 80 years old grandma. I appreciate how authoress hasn’t used any kind of abusive or sexual elements to make the story exciting but kept things natural and sober which makes it a light read. I liked how even with short stories authoress has managed to make her characters powerful and relatable. It’s tough to develop the characters in short stories due to which readers don’t generally pick it up but I am glad Aura has shown how it can still be done. I liked how she has written stories as both - a third person and first person as it has helped in giving diversity to the narration of each story.


In the 3rd story itself, the mention of Mumbai made me happier as I have been living here for more than a decade now and the set-up of monsoon made it more nostalgic – the way the protagonist is fighting with it after a bad day – but watching a passenger with smile and steadiness even with a larger difficulty in life than her gives a life lesson to both- the protagonist and the readers. “The Vows” is about a divorced lady, a mother of 15 years old daughter finding the beauty of relationship with a new man in her life who appreciates her flaws as much as her good qualities.


“Didis” is another insightful chapter which conveys a beautiful message so aptly about how the housemaids deal with their life and its challenges – which is generally ignored by us but it is what white-collared ladies talk in their presentations while discussing Women empowerment in big conference halls. “Chicago” is very nicely written. The whole chapter seems like a cold breeze that you love to feel and experience. The way the city, its winter and the friendly people are defined makes you want to be at the protagonist’s place to be there once on a small trip. “Krishnokoli” is another deep chapter where the protagonist realizes how travelling can develop perspective which wasn’t an angle in which she looked at her lifestyle before. She immediately takes decision which shall make her life easier once she returns back to her workaholic and social life.


Now, talking about the drawbacks- I must say the grammar and typos are let-down for this book as you definitely don’t expect that in anthologies where taking care of these elements is very easy. There are few stories which doesn’t deliver great message nor the stories leave any kind of mark hence it would have been great if all the stories would have been strengthened by the author.


Overall, this is a fine attempt and I give it 3 stars out of 5.







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