Neelesh Misra dons many hats- lyricist, radio storyteller, journalist and writer. He is also the founder of Content Project, home to many writers, collectively called ‘Mandali’. Storywallah, a collection of short stories presents some of these voices to readers. Khila Bisht has translated these stories from Hindi to English.
Many of the stories that form a part of the collection belong to provincial India. Indeed, this is far removed from urban areas of the country. Voices from the diverse townships and villages of our diverse country are always interesting to hear. But, human emotions transcend geography and other man made barriers. The stories in the collection all represent the varied and rich hues of human feelings.
In Wildflower, a daughter grows to understand her mother as a woman first, a mother later. The story shows the depth of true love. Yellow Roses revisits the theme of evolution of love. Friends, lovers, spouses…most of us go through these relationships in stages. Does crossing one mean that the other ceases to exist? This story explores just that!
In Letters, the protagonist revisits a lost love, aided by his wife! Our People shows humanity in the aftermath of a riot and how the love of common people can truly heal wounds. My favourite story though, is Satrangi, a supernatural love story. Equally touching is Overcoat, a love story that depicts the development of a romantic relationship in the senior years.
The voices are distinct and each storyteller evokes a different India. Bustling cities, vibrant marketplaces, rural vibes, urban decay, an Indian heart on foreign shores…the stories run across the length and breadth.
The common thread of nostalgia also binds these tales together. The stories are mostly about revisiting the past and reflecting on it with a new insight. Most of the stories in Storywallah have a certain sense of longing attached.
In all, the stories that form Storywallah touch upon raw human emotions, especially the sense of love and loss and strike a chord in the heart!