Home / Books / Half a Rupee: Stories | Book Review | Part 1

Half a Rupee: Stories | Book Review | Part 1

Since a little while we were curious to read a book titled Half A Rupee Stories, as the name of famous poet/writer/lyricist Gulzar is associated with it. We found the book available at Amazon (Kindle Edition) at very affordable rate and we went for the same. The book is translated in English by Sunjoy Shekhar. Here are our reviews for the same.

Book Title : Half a Rupee: Stories
Author : (Translation : )
Publisher : Penguin India (1 March 2013)
Total Pages : 232
Purchase Links : Amazon (Kindle Edition)

The book is classified into 8 sections.

Kuldip Nayyar and Pir Sahib (Section 1)

This story revolves around the very famous event of Independence Day at the Wagah Border between India and Pakistan. But the story instead of talking much of war, talks more about the emotions. The aftereffects of partition have affected the lives of the people affected by it. There are a lot of people who were having relatives in both sides of border, and had difficult time to choose whether to stay in India or Pakistan; as in United – Unpartitioned India they were living in the lap of the same motherland. The emotional baggage those people had to carry can only be understood by themselves, may be a very emotional fellow can try feeling their pain at some level. The story talks about how effectively, the faith works! And, it carries a punch of harsh realities, which makes one to do some stuff, which you cannot think of. The story is well written and the conversation in Jeep is realistic. The visit to Pakistan and his abandoned home by one of the main character of the story contains a lot of attributes, you like to read it for. The exploration of childhood days is really nice. You almost unconsciously start collecting your memories from your childhood days while reading it, for sure.

Overall a story, worth to read, and learn a lesson about harsh realities.

Sahir and Jaadu (Section 1)

This story revolves around two famous characters of the literary world who are more known for their contribution in Hindi Film industry (aka Bollywood); Sahir Ludhiyanvi and Javed Akhtar. The story tries exploring the friendship between Sahir and Jadoo. The attempts by writer are successful in pieces. Some incidents are completely detached from each other and fails creating the impact. The troubled relationship between father-son is explored but somehow, we didn’t found it effective. Also the dialogs related to 100Rs note could have been written in the better manner (especially at the end), to be effective.

You can skip the story or read it once if you like.

Bhushan Banmali (Section 1)

This story about Bhushan Banmali tries to explore the relationship between Bhushan, his wife and his mother-in-low. But the fantastic part of the story is the traveling to the heal and snowy area by the friend in their car. The highest point of the story is their travelogue without a doubt. Also some human emotions are explored realistically, for example, a man came to help the friends in finding way to the Dharmshala vanish into the dark when found them too much drunk! The army officers and their welcome ceremony for the friends, explores the feelings and nature of the soldiers pretty well. The end of the story comes as shocking and if there was a link between start of the story, the travelogue and the last scene, it could have been very effective.

If travelogues is what you find enjoying, you should not miss this story.

The Stench (Section 2)

This story explores the effects of growing density in city. It is about how people who live in slums feel when they were shifted to concrete homes. It is not as easy as you think, that one got a better place. The freedom and free space they found in those huts and shelter are not available here in conjusted flats of small size. They found that there is no place to play cards with friends or some small game play, for them. We always see the transformation from our perspective, the story tries to look at it from the point of view of the people affected by it.

If you have open mind, and can read about comparatively ignored part of life (and people), you can read it.

The Rain (Section 2)

Mumbai is famous for many things, and the rainy season is one of the same! The monsoon of Mumbai is a nice and romantic experience, and at the same time it have unwelcome effects for those who live in very poor situation. The situation got worst when the rain drops for few days continuously. It affects life and living in adverse manner. The sanitation problem is the least people think of in that time, as sometimes the survival becomes the biggest task they want to think about. Those who are living in slums, face the bitter part of the situation. The story shows the effects of rain pretty well. Some of the mishaps are explored in realistic manner. The weakest link in the story is how the relationship between father-daughter is explored. The second week point is the end the story met with.

Good to read for some realistic exploration of rainy season and its adverse effects on the life of affected (especially poor people). The story though doesn’t explore the relations between people very well.

We will keep reviewing further short stories from this book over the period of time. What we found common in the stories so far is exploration of the struggle a common man need to go through during various aspects of the life. The explanation of surroundings and emotions is really weaved pretty well in the stories. However sometimes the segments of the stories are not so interconnected well. But still if you consider the price, (this “Half a rupee : stories” book – kindle edition – was available at the rate of less than even half a dollar), it is worth to go for if you like to explore common man’s life.

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