A Slice of Life

A Slice of Life

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Every human wears a mask. Behind the cheerful facade lies faith, hope, trust, love, despair, confidence, insecurity, et al. Everyone has a story. A DINK couple finding Work From Home a challenge... The Couple who wasn't one... A rigid person who deviates from a lifelong habit... Two people who remain in touch for 35 years, without talking... A daughter who has sacrificed her dreams for her mother... A fictional potpourri of extraordinary narratives of ordinary…

Want to curl up with a breezy read on a lazy rainy afternoon? Look no further – Smita Das Jain’s anthology of flash fiction and short stories promises to be just that and more! A relishable collection of eighteen stories, the book is divided into three broad segments — In Loving Memory, All in Good Humour, and What a Relationship, each containing six tales based on the respective theme. 

 In this anthology, Smita explores the entire gamut of human emotions — love, anger, camaraderie, competitive spirit, betrayal, selflessness, sacrifice, parental affection and the like — with love and romance taking precedence over the others. While Rendezvous is a sweet tale of love with an endearing twist at the end, Twist of Love explores the outcome of selfless love, often heart wrenching but probably necessary. While the first flush of love washes over the reader in The Couple, a young bride’s impassioned wait for her duty-bound soldier husband, finds fruition in Parched. The epistolary form of narration makes a surprise appearance in Forever Love where our heart goes out to the pining, lovelorn Mohit who has waited a lifetime to meet his ladylove. The unexpected reveal at the end changes the entire trajectory of the story but not before injecting a deep humanitarian strain into it. 

What is life without a few gags?! It is this philosophy that makes the reader smile, grin and guffaw when a not-so-deadly virus attacks the human race in WARNING! Or when a much coveted newly installed jacuzzi in the MC’s dream house showers trouble for them in Where There’s a Will. The universally enigmatic equation with in-laws finds a humorous makeover in It Wasn’t the First Time which urges the reader to peek into his or her own dynamics at home.

The writer’s deeply sensitive side and sense of social responsibility touch our soul with a few other stories like Graduation Day, Star Crossed and Daddy’s Little Girl. If the written word has the power to change the world, then we certainly need more stories like these which focus on areas like adult education and special needs children. 

A particular number that made me pause and ponder was Go back Home Where You Belong. Smita does a great job in turning Prerna from a cloying woman blinded by her love for a much-married man, to one who realises her self-worth and chooses to end a one-sided relationship.

A particular feature that stands out in almost all the stories here is the urban professional setting with its hi-tech office spaces, busy corporate climate, looming deadlines and sincere, elite personnel – makes one wonder if it has something to do with the author’s own corporate background! But it certainly strikes a chord with the town and city-based readers and the way their daily lives pan out.

As the title suggests, this delightful collection of stories makes us sit up and take note of so many vignettes of our daily life, buried under layers of mundane oblivion. Smita Das Jain’s deft penmanship delves deep and crafts them into heart-warming literary pieces that are both relatable and relevant, doing complete justice to her laudable story telling skills!                                                 

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