“Success is not about how many millions you make; it’s about how many decisive strides you take in life.” –Asha Iyer Kumar in her blog We are all bamboos trees.
“Today, there is only one way to describe our life after a year of redundancy. Like a swan. Gliding gracefully on the top and paddling fiercely beneath.” – Asha Iyer Kumar in her blog Jobless in Dubai.
I know those lines like the back of my hand by now. Not because I have memorized them. I remember them because they rewarded me with a fresh perspective in life, just when I was in dire need of one. I go back to them often because they have hugely impacted the way a work in progress writer like me, wants to tread the way ahead.
I look up to Asha Iyer Kumar’s writing because it is much like the Northern lights. There is a natural brilliance to the light it radiates, it’s dynamic, it’s a rare combination of myriad colors and complexities. And of course, one needs to be in an elevated zone to be able to savor it.
And that is also how I would like to describe her latest offering to the literary world – THAT PAIN IN THE WOMB
It is a collection of 12 short stories, each one shining bright in the dark sky. Every story has a unique color, flavor, and a crackling touch of the writer. Each one is real, raw, and robust.
Although I loved the book in its entirety, I would like to highlight a few that gave me goosebumps and perspective at the same time.
There is a story Salma’s silence which hits you hard, at the right place. Your heart. A young girl’s apprehensions about a father gone missing, her mother seeking comfort in the absence of the same man and the rattling reality at the end of it all. Everything gets on to you.
Then there is another story That pain in the womb about the trials and tribulations of a wrongdoer’s mother. Was her womb evil? How will she ebb this pain in the womb and in the reader’s heart?
And there is a great story to begin your day with- Distressed Jeans. Impeccable and Ingenious storyline offering a lot of food for thought. Whether you are a teenager or the salt and pepper generation, this one is not to be missed.
At the end, is the last story in this book. And rightly so. For even though there Is closure right from the start, the story gracefully inches towards moving on in life. There aren’t any happy endings or beautiful beginnings. Just a ray of hope that there is a way to end the angst within.
When I was in school, I often quoted one phrase during all my language examinations, in context to all works of literature- The true mark of a great writer is his/her ability to pull up a mirror to the real face of the society he / she lives in. That used to be the standard beginning of all my answers as far as reviews went. I must have mugged it up, I guess. But THAT PAIN IN THE WOMB, holds a clear mirror to the darkest and deepest turmoil faced by humans. And this mirror has zero distortions and inconsistencies.
You will find negative emotions of animosity and revenge lurking within, the inhibitions and trepidations of motherhood, human hypocrisy, survival instincts, a weak moment, a moment of great strength, so on and so forth. You will find the complete spectrum of human emotions there. And you shall marvel at everything as you read. That’s why I am reminded of the Northern Lights.
“It takes all kinds to make the world. I think we have to make a choice as to where we belong. We can be kind or mean. Where do you choose to be?”— Also by Asha Iyer Kumar, from her book THAT PAIN IN THE WOMB.