Have you heard the saying Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body? And, do you believe it? Well, we at ThinkerViews strongly believe in it. Some stories are inspirational and some are funny, some of them thrill us and some of them motivate, some explore the psyche in depth and some introduce us to selflessness… The spectrum very diverse and expanded beyond our imagination. Listing all genres and the impact they can make is not possible to document in a small article. And yes, it doesn’t have to be a very complicated long story to convey a simple yet effective notion. It can be small and straight forward.
Recently we got a chance to read The Third Eye And Other Tales by Sumana Dutta Chowdhury. It is a short story collection where all the 10 stories belong to different zone and trying convey different emotion.
|Book Title||:||The Third Eye And Other Tales|
|Author||:||Sumana Dutta Chowdhury|
|Publisher||:||Lockley Hall Publishing LLP; Published: (2019)|
|# of Pages||:||149 (Paperback)|
|# of Chapters||:||10|
Fortunately, we were able to share a story from the book with our reader as a sneak peek into the book. You must already have read it, but if not, here is a quick link:
While sharing the sneak peek, we have promised that we will share our unbiased review for the book once we complete it. As we’ve completed it, now it is our turn to fulfil that promise! :).
A book must not be judged only by its cover for sure. But, at the same time, one needs to read/purchase the same to explore the other aspects of the same. And here, the first impression of the book (or for that matter, any media) plays an important role. The book cover, being an entry gate to the world explored within, plays an important role in making the first impression of the book. A remarkable number of book read/purchase decisions are influenced by its cover.
Let us take a look at the cover page of the book.
As you can see, the cover page of this book is quite attractive. Having a polished black color background gives it a rich look. The subtitle and the author’s names are in red and black color respectively, while the main title is masked with shades of multiple colors having an eye looking from behind – which clearly represents – “The Third Eye”.
So, it lives up to the expectations in terms of representing the title in an effective manner.
Usually, we distinguish our book review into two segments, The Plot, and Our Views. The canvas of this book, however, is different. As the book explores 10 short stories, talking about them is necessary and at the same time, there will be a change to have spoilers which I want to avoid as far as possible. So let us have a bird’s eye view to each of them combined with our views and reviews for each of the.
The Third Eye And Other Tales explores the following 10 stories.
Kazi – The Fisherman
As the name suggests this story revolves around Mohammed Kazi, a fisherman in a remote village of India and his wife Mehrin. Kazi lives a very humble life. He does fishing at night and his wife works at a shop to meet their ends. Fishing is not an easy job, nor it has that handsome amount of money, especially for the fisherman himself.
One incident, however, changed the flow of his life and what it is resulted into, is better to explore by reading this emotional tale.
Probably this is the first short story where I got to know more about fishing. Not fishing as a task, but as a business. It feels emotional to read that it has also become a trade of middlemen. The poor fishermen, who spend their nights in the sea in order to catch a good amount of fishes are not paid that handsomely. And, the sea is ultimately the sea. It can change its mood at any time. So, they are risking their lives.
The author has defined the characters quite realistically. The conversation between the husband and the wife, the arrangement of the show and the way the climax is arranged, makes you emotionally connected with the story.
Sometimes we have psychic reservations. For example, being a vegetarian you may not want to explore a story where a fisherman is a protagonist. However, the protagonist’s job is not important here. He could be doing anything. But, the reality of life and how things happen to someone, is something to explore in this story. Of course, you may think that the story could have a different climax, but, it is the writer’s domain and the way she wants to convey what she wants to.
The Third Eye
This story revolves around Mayuri, a homemaker staying in the USA with her husband Hitesh. She has done her masters in Polymer Science before getting married. And, she is living the American dream most of the Indian parents are seeing for their children. The dream has a strange habit of transferring the dreamer to reality, sooner or later.
Hitesh, her loving and caring husband, has deadlines to meet and had to spend a large amount of time to his office. Mayuri was feeling boredom during the day. No, Hitesh is not against her wishes of doing a job, so don’t think so.
One day, Mayuri was bumped (literally) into Subeti, another immigrant living with her husband Ben who is doing a job in a cola company.
The story from this point forward is an interesting read which I am leaving for you to experience.
This story seems to be very near to the heart of the author. Probably because the author herself is a B. Tech. from Jadavpur University and is doing a corporate job. The character of the protagonist is might be something she can emotionally relate to.
This story has many good aspects like exploring the reality of life. Usually, we get married at a time when we want to do better in our careers. And, we feel that our parents are not giving us enough time for that. At the same time, if we look objectively, it is the best time to get married, to take our responsibilities and have someone to be there in all the walks of thick and thin. Of course, the relationship is mutual. It also gives us an opportunity to handle multitasking effectively!
We’ve heard “Knowledge is the power” many a time, but, we need a moment of realizing that. I, personally feel that in everyone’s life there always will come a time when he/she can use his/her knowledge and realize that the saying is not just bookish thing.
The story also introduces us to cultural crossovers. It elaborates on the fact that culture is nothing else but a way of living developed based on the geographical circumstances. Eventually, we all humans are alike. And, so does our feelings.
An emotional tale, which I think could have been a little better, especially in the second half, if the things are elaborated in a little different and detailed manner.
The Bloody Mary
The Bloody Mary – is a psychological thriller that evolved around Mary, Anirudh, Sana, Ram, and Frerick.
Mary is an accomplished scriptwriter. She has just recently honored with an award. She has a loving and caring family. And, her mother also lives a few kilometers away from her home.
What I like in the story is the way the emotions of a creative person are explored. Any creative person tends to be emotional. He/she thinks more from the heart than the brain. The human brain is quite a mystery which no one is able to understand fully. It is like an AI system (on the contrary AI systems are inspired by the brain functions, this is just a metaphore) where what you keep input came as output after being processed.
Most of the creative jobs are loney tasks where you are playing with art, and your brain too.
When it is too much. Your brain responds accordingly.
The way the author has explained the persona of the protagonist is interestingly realistic:
Mary was a shy girl since childhood. She could not express any extreme emotion. Bewilderment, awe and anexiety all mixed to form a cocktail of an emotional outburst from her.
I also like the way true friendship is elaborated in the story. That is what a friend is for. This story proves that “A friend in need is a friend indeed” is not just a saying. The author has also found a fantastic phrase to define an ideal spouse “shock absorber”. I really like the analogy in this phrase.
Reverse Wax Musium
This entire story is available for you to read at the following link:
Reverse Wax Musium
So, just read and elaborate for yourself to find what you like and what you find as shortcomings there :).
This story is set up in a typical Bengali background which you might have explored in the creations of Satyajit Ray, Sharadindu Bandyopadhyay, and others. The names of the prime characters Binodini and Bhaskar Babu adds to that :).
This story can be read to know more about the author’s hometown – Calcutta (now Kolkata), Durga Puja Pandals and more. Read the story to get the real way of living of a typical Bengali family. It also is an inspirational story. It is the story of finding one’s true talent and most importantly the need to give it freehand and wings. One cannot achive mastery in anything till he/she is bounded to a limit.
The author has understood the social and emotional relations quite well. It is the shortest story in the book which explores an emotional journey. I couldn’t resist myself from quoting the following lines from the book, which are indeed true for all the relations.
I wonder what stops us in praising and understanding the pais of each other’s life in regular office days. Why do we gathr and preserve all the praise, acolades and heartfelt messages for the person for his farewell day. Why can’t we walk the talk and remove the heavy king’s cape of seniority, power and position and just say you re amazing and you are doing great job on all the days.
It also elaborates on another aspect of the marriage, quite opposite to what you’ve read in “The Third Eye”. Let me share the following lines from the book:
Bhaskar Babu, on the other hand, was too naive to express his feelings and emotions. To him, marriage was more of responsibility and duty, hence, somehow, the weight of duty had not allowed his short, bulky weatish complexioned man to let the bows and arrows of Cupid to ever let love blossom.
See, how brilliantly the author has weaved characterization, emotions, sarcasm and persona of a character in these lines! You will surely recognize these literary aspects while reading.
I want to leave the rest of the stories for you to explore. They are:
- The Magnificent Mask
- The Half Lit Marlboro
- The Scrap Factory
- Mee Godbole Boltoe
So, the author has referred to the traditional Indian way of living and at the same time has mentioned modern references like “WhatsApping”. Here are some more lines from the book I like for various reaosns:
Fishing in the night, sleeping in the day and smoking in the evening was Mohammed Kazi’s life.
— — — — — — — —
… and every day, he was given water to drink after the monologue from his Mehrin, who indulged spending more of her time thinking about what others are doing and sometime on what Kazi was doing.
— — — — — — — —
… the master who used to provide him meals everyday had become his meal that day.
— — — — — — — —
Tea is a tea when milk and sugar with black tea lives is boiled to extract the soothing polyphenols out of the tea leaves. This is what Mayuri knew, so prospect of green tea was far from pleasing to her.
— — — — — — — —
Recognition is an ultimate sense of honour for any artist.
— — — — — — — —
She realized that life is like the Subway Surf game and while running we need to be prepared for the next obstacle and navigate swiftly through the journey. One time, we may be lifted by parachute and the very next moment, we may face a great wall of obstacle – there is very less time to think and react – we just have to navigate.
— — — — — — — —
Listen, Paltu, fear is such an element, which gets onto you more if you embrace it. It is like the Pac man in the Pac man game; it eats your mind, gulps your confidence and finally, ruins you to the pieces the more you embrace it.
The book has some lines where better proofreading is needed. Here is an example:
Bhaskar still quite confused as he looked at every body and smiled with humility, not able in to absorb so much goodness of humanity.
Similarly, I found the following substitutions are needed, considering the context in which they are used.
“a new comer” should be “a newcomer”
“sometime” should be “some time”
“Bhaskars” should be “Bhasker’s”
This discussion might have given you the fair idea of what to expect from the book.
Writing a short story is quite a challenging job. You cannot take much time in setting up the plot, you need to come to the main aspect and pace in first few paragraphs. And, at the same time, nothing should look half-baked. The author has done a good job in that aspects.
From a large perspective, I have found that there are many readers who compare the book price and the number of pages available in the book. I found the book pricy in that context, and it may affect its sale.
Let me end with the disclaimer that we’ve received the review copy from the author. The review is uninfluenced and unbiased by all means, as always.
Definitely a book worth the money and the time you spend reading it. I loved reading it. It has its positives which make you ignire a few letdowns. You may find it a little costly too. We are going to host a book giveaway where you will stand a chance to win it for FREE! So, watch out for the same 🙂
Definitely around 8.5 out of 10
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