Saturday, February 8, 2020

Dangling Gandhi - Jayanthi Sankar

Dangling Gandhi and other Short Stories are authored by Jayanthi Sankar who lives in Singapore (she's been there for the past twenty-five years). She writes, translates and edits and is also a watercolour artist. She was in Hyderabad in January for a book event and I picked up this book there.

The title catches your eye instantly - but there's nothing to worry - she's talking about a figurine of Gandhi dangling in a cab in Singapore and how the cab driver tells his fares how much he admires Gandhi. 'Did Churchill know' ends dramatically and is a good start to the book. The 'Punkah Wallah' is a poignant tale of an immigrant in Singapore who is earning money for his mother and his deaf-mute sister, until his mother passes away - but the landlords don't tell him even after a year. 'Read Singapore' is about a mother and daughter and their reading habits and how they discover each other in a strange land. 'Am I a jar' is about a teenager coming to terms with herself and her choices.

Jayanthi bridges the two worlds of India and Singapore with great ease. She has a unique, lyrical quality to her prose. She has a light touch and yet draws you into the world she is creating. There is enough research about the topics she wrote about to make it credible and convincing. The characters are interesting and layered. Enjoyable.

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