When they Spoke is an interesting collection of 29 stories by various authors. Interesting because, it gives a voice to in-animates. Each of the carefully picked stories attempts to bring to life an inanimate object. Have you ever wondered what if all these objects around us, the ones we use, the ones we live in, the ones we drive could see, feel and express? The car door that you just slammed does it feel pain? The house that you sold off, does it miss you? The mirror in which you admire yourself is it as vain as you? These 29 authors [including me :-)] take you on a journey into the lives of these in-animates.
As you start reading the book what strikes you is how varied and different the objects are. There are stories about the sky, the mountain, a mirror, a flower, a photo frame, houses, surgical instruments, safety pins and even a hangman’s noose. And the emotions that these stories invoke are so varied that it feels like watching a feature film which has love, drama, action, revenge, longing, death, destruction and victory in equal measure. Generally anthologies or collections are a mixed bag, where you like some of the stories, love a few and don’t care about the rest, not this one though. I LOVED EACH and EVERY story. Despite the fact that some the in-animates were repeated, the stories were completely different from one another.
The November Sky by Kirthi Jayakumar made we muse about the purpose of Life
The Protector by Janneker Lawrence was nothing less than a high-octane action film
I am Kalashnikov by Paulami DuttaGupta simply blew me away, one of the best and most powerful stories I have ever read
Peresphone by Preethi Venugopal was a heady cocktail of Love and betrayal
The Rusty Needle with a hat by Anirban Nanda had a nail-pricking climax 😉
Normal Is Bo ‘Ring’ by Neeti Banga made me go all ‘Aww’ and mushy
Automate by Sanghamitra Bose was nail biting. So evocative, I could see all the action unfolding before me.
The Gates of Heaven by Bhuvaneshwari Shankar was a wonderful story of hope and life
Reflection by Rhiti Bose made me realize that beyond the facade of wealth we all are the same. We have the same fears, same failures and same joys!
Purgatory by Dr. Kuheli Bhattacharya surprised me with the unusual inanimate she chose
Moving Mountains by Riti Kaunteya was an ode to the infallible human spirit ‘This time I smiled benevolently at my sister, and returned my gaze towards the path that Adrika would take to return to me. It might be a long wait, but then, I could wait forever.’
The Empty Vase by Deepti Menon’s twist of an ending left me pleasantly surprised
The Wind is Singing by Sutapa Basu has a spine chilling surprise in the end ‘Lazily, the lone figure swung to and fro. The night wind is singing. The peepal is grumbling…creeeaaak, creeeaaak…’
The Will to live by Radhika Maira Tabrez made me ‘will’ to read more of her writing
The Enchantress by Paromita Mukerjee Ojha was a story filled with wisdom. I couldn’t help but applaud Durba’s ingenuity
If only they Asked by Ayan Pal is a scathing story about regressive customs and caste differences. Why does he have to write so well? Looks like I am ‘leaf green with envy’
Framed Memories by Yashluv Virwani was one of the most touching stories in the book, did make me a bit teary eyed.
The Knot of Shame by Neil D’Silva had me shocked by his choice of object.
My Lady Love by Vibha Sharma is a story about obsessive love. I definitely hadn’t expected the ending.
The Silent Wanderer by Sayujya Shankar gives an important message about conservation
Masterji’s Haveli by Avanti Sopory made me nostalgic
Light by Ashay Abbhi, I loved how he married his inanimate with the story
Earring by Lakshana Palat is a beautiful love story
When Siddhartha Moved the Mountain by Anupama Jain, well what can I say, the story moved me too
The Soul of a Hospital by Sheela Jaywant will make you look at hospitals in a different light
Under my branches by Nivedita Tuli is about a mango tree…well that in itself is so romantic
Thus Spoke the Earth by Ankita Chauhan is an appeal to pay heed to climate change
The Curse by Shweta Ravi, a saga of a curse which cuts across generations is a befitting closure to the collection.
While I am itching to write more about each of the stories, I will leave you to experience them for yourself. A unique concept, impeccably edited and elegantly written, these wonderful stories are a must read. Feels great that I can call it 1/29th my book [The book features my story ‘Front‘]
When they Spoke is Published by Readomania and deftly edited by Arpita Banerjee. You can buy the book here: