Title – Stories of Us: The Common Man
Author – Bobby Sachdeva
Publisher – Pan Macmillan India
No. of pages – 254
Genre – Fiction, Short Stories
Blurb – Does saving your family’s honour trump personal happiness? Will the god be appeased if you overfeed him and not help the needy? Will the law protect the stray dog that tears an eight-year-old into shreds? Is a deceased manual scavenger just another statistic who risks his life for a cleaner future?
Bobby Sachdeva’s Stories of Us: The Common Man, a collection of forty one short stories, tackles a diverse range of issues that plague our everyday existence. These include casteism, class differences, gender insensitivity, bigotry, transphobia, blind faith, superstition, inequality and exploitation. And in doing so, it questions the basis of these concepts that direct the human nature. The stories are of ‘Us’, the common people, who have become numb in the face of the severe injustice they witness regularly, who are continually dictated by the norms set by the society much like a puppet left at the mercy of a master puppeteer. These stories might be perceived as some sort of a wakeup call designed to shock us out of our perpetual state of happy complacency. Not only does the author dabble with the big moral questions, the problems and dilemmas one faces in his/ her daily life have also been highlighted.
The author has done a commendable job in picking up these untold stories and bringing them to the foreground, all the while retaining their authenticity. These forty one narratives are an unique blend of the drab and mundane and the rich and exotic as their respective titles suggest. Arranged in an impressive order, these tiny tales follow one another quite effortlessly and can even at times be considered a complete whole. However, much remains to be desired with regards to the style. While on one hand it is extremely lucid and straightforward, on the other hand it seems to have been hurried up by the author which in turn give some of the stories the impression of being meagre sketches of certain incidents. As a result of this they have been rendered incapable of attaining their true potential.
Lastly, I would like to thank the author for providing me with a copy of this book and wish him well for his future endeavours.