So, how about your next breakthrough read coming from slices of life, shrouded in tiny tales which are small yet significant and which have the power to be able to leave an indelible imprint on the minds of all those who delve into them? Potpourri by Ranjit Kulkarni is a collection of poignant, captivating short stories which are beautiful, and relatable and make you experience life at its deepest paradigms.
You know there are some books which have such beautiful tiny nuggets of the real slices of life that they tend to overpower all other pieces of writing you may have read then. That is simply because there is this strangely comfortable feeling of reading those short little tales which have so much to speak, to narrate about, to incorporate by way of their small yet highly significant happenings that one is simply doused with.
I recently delved into a brilliant bouquet of great, sensitive yet beautifully poignant short stories by Ranjit Kulkarni titled Potpourri: A Motley bunch of long and short stories. A deciphering of the most common place yet complex human emotions in an ironic, yet refreshing new manner, Ranjit has very wisely and diligently joined the web of all those human feelings and daily transpiring which is present subtly and surely, conspicuous only when we decide to pay heed to it. Else waiting coyly in a corner, for its turn, well that’s life peeps, simply amassing no great pleasure of the enormous feat it achieves every day, the herculean challenges it overcomes and the humongous obstacles it fights every instance. Yes, amidst the humdrum of all these, life itself forgets to celebrate and acknowledge itself, not paying heed to even the changing hues of those happenings.
Ranjit through these beautiful tales simply tried to put forth those emotions of heart, love and people’s everyday lives. The best thing that makes this collection of 31 tales stand apart from others is the ability of anyone to be able to connect to them instantly, finding some part of themselves, their thought process or demeanour engrained deep within that particular character, that instance being portrayed, compelling one to go back to it, even long after having finished reading it.
I happened to have read Ranjit’s initial book titled: The Good, the Bad and the Silly” and I enjoyed that one as well. The thing that works as a signature I feel in Ranjit’s particular style of writing is his ability to make ordinary situations and circumstances extraordinary, peeling away and whisking the intricate emotions of life from amidst the deepest contours of these happenings, sending readers on a fun ride and a process of an exhilarating self-discovery of sorts which is an experience unto itself.
So, coming back to this one well Potpourri is as fascinating and captivating a collection as one could hope for since it tends to hold one for a long even after you finish reading it. Ranjit has evoked a plethora of emotions ranging from empathy to love, pity, and vengeance to even simpler ones which are subtly present but which we don’t tend to consider. The characterization is supreme, with a brilliant detailed, in-depth backdrop created for almost every character without having to give that much info owing to the short story format. That, I feel is a big writing strength on Ranjit’s part to be able to convey such a strong portrayal on such a limited canvas. It is not often we get to see such a great depiction of characters that tend to stay back with us and speak so much to us by way of their subtle presence. A strange, captivating of sorts, take any story, any character and you will surely be transported to their world, basking in that particular situation alongside them, wondering what will eventually happen.
His interplay of words and plots is something which I feel comes only after a thorough experience and understanding of all facets of human psychology since it is not so easy to be able to decipher and splay such complex and deep feelings into tales for all to read and partake of. Fabulous writing, take any story from this collection, they all are priceless gems, each tending to shine in its own space, depicting a different hue, portraying another dimension of human behaviour, a different aspect of human psychology. One has been explored but seldom depicted in this manner.
My favourites included Full and Final Settlement which had irony sprinkled to it, My Mom’s Carcass which had raw pain and agony exuding from it, A Boy Called Vihaan which explored the multiple dimensions of death, Downfall, Lay Off which had different feelings speaking amidst their plots, sometimes comforting sometimes overwhelming. Just One Minute Sir, one of my favourites, had so much character and irony to it that boy I was amazed at the simple yet crystal-clear message it conveyed. Almost could taste the bittersweet truth of life embedded in “Just One minute, Sir”.
All in all, a great and poignant collection of short stories, bookmark this one for your next read if you want to delve into wise, thoughtful slices of life, and want to peruse it at arm’s length.