Book Title: Parting of the Strangers and Other Stories
Author: Sattam Dasgupta
Format: Paper Back
Total Number of Pages: 146
Publisher: Partridge Publishing India
Publishing Date: 17 September 2018
As an engineer sits across from his wife, Akansha, at an elegant restaurant, he waits for their guest -her co-worker, Sinjan. The engineer, whose favorite pastime is to observe and analyze the world around him, has no idea that his entire life is about to be thrown into turmoil. In a collection of sixteen short stories primarily set against the backdrop of urban India, a diverse group of characters each face the impact of unique circumstances on their lives, thoughts, and actions. It has been almost a year since a commuter first saw a bright-red car caught behind a truck in heavy traffic and waved the driver ahead of him. Now the two drivers frequently see each other on the road, and it is a ritual he eagerly looks forward to every evening. But does she? When the paths of two men -one an attendant and the other a businessman -cross in a Bangalore restaurant, Venkat and Rahul are each propelled back into the past in unique ways. Parting of the Strangers and Other Stories is a collection of short tales about people, their realizations, and the games their minds play that invite all of us to discover the hidden angels and demons within.
Why do people change…for what? Human relationships have the tendency to change because of worldly reasons. Once looking a confident partner, averts their face upon a slight change of circumstances. Indeed intricacies of human heart and mind are beyond understanding. Often people are backstabbed, betrayed, ignored, mentally tortured, and made unlove…all because of selfishness.
Nowadays, in human relationships, it’s become a thing of a rarity to find unconditional love. The propositions which I just expressed are prevalent in our worlds, in our societies, and almost everywhere. Many seek answers to these and rest move on taking it as heartbreak. Sattam Dasgupta’s first book – The Parting of the Strangers and Other Stories – beautifully explores the unending deep abyss in the relationship.
When we are together, we feel like being in a string of camaraderie, a partner or a company; but when we separate we do it like it strangers. Why? Read this heartfelt collection if you are someone who waited for a long time but no one turned into your way, read it if you ever felt like a loser even after sacrificing the most treasured possession of your life; read it if you ever felt that the person whom you loved unconditionally moved on because he/she was on a hedonistic search. In this world, everything has been done or decided by the ken of so-called moral standards. Well, the question is, do they always work. I think it is the society that makes or breaks the relationship. Do we have control over our fates…certainly not…but we can at least be rational before getting into a change of heart and mind.
I personally liked the second story from the collection namely – Propriety. This story has unspeakable silence! A kind of gripping intensity that comes with the silence that asks you the question and makes you feel embarrassed for your life decisions. Such is the fate of Swaha and the narrator. They were together as friends in the same office. Moved the corporate ladders almost at the same time. They had a bunch of each other’s love…but still chose to marry different partners. In fact, when Swaha was searching a life partner through a matrimonial website, the narrator realized that she was delaying the process, however, he didn’t interfere. In fact, he should have intervened, but he didn’t, probably some societal parameters stopped him. Anyway the get married to different persons, and still, continue to be friends despite knowing that their hearts throb for each other. One day Swaha calls the narrator to share the news of her pregnancy that is the time when they plunged into unspeakable silence and wished in their minds that they should have been together. This could have been their future…but they seem to be late. Swaha probably held him responsible for this…she then walked out of the car without saying any words. That was terrific.
The collection has sixteen, from short to medium to long, stories. Except a few almost all stories delve deep into the mind games and change of heart situations, thus, the endings of all stories are unpredictable…you have that feeling as God knows what will happen.
All stories are likable and above all, I personally liked his writing style. Don’t take me wrong Bengali writers are good at literature…they seem to have it like an inheritance.
Overall Ratings: 4.5/5 Stars.
Grab the copy here- Amazon.in
About the Author
Sattam Dasgupta is an engineer and an entrepreneur whose career spans across chip design and software. To date, he has been awarded five patents for his ideas. Sattam’s unwavering passion is people – the most complex of all problems and most fascinating of all opportunities. Growing up in Kolkata in one of the most turbulent and violent periods of the city’s history; witnessing the best and worst in people, played a compelling role in shaping his interest in human dynamics – especially, the changing ethos with time and circumstances.
Sattam loves curiosity, wit, debates, technology and Tibetan mastiffs.