22 September, 2020

Gujju Takes A Good Turn

Some of the stories take a surrealist turn, somewhat like the author's paintings. Khakhar can be very funny.

Gujju Takes A Good Turn
outlookindia.com
-0001-11-30T00:00:00+05:53
Gujarati literature. Those two words don’t sit together comfortably. We pray to Laxmi. Goddess Saraswati is way down in our list. The only decent institute of higher learning in Ahmedabad teaches business management. We leave literary pursuits to the Bengalis. Our cultural capital is in Maharashtra, in the city of Mumbai. This magazine recently had a cover story on regional writers. It did not surprise me that there was not a word on Gujarati authors or literature. The output is largely mediocre.

The translations of Bhupen Khakhar’s short stories come as a pleasant surprise. Here is a fine storyteller who keeps things exquisitely simple. His characters live in tenements. He empathises with those who ride scooters and are taken for a ride. A couple has a written contract stipulating how often they’ll have sex. On Wednesdays and Saturdays, if you must know. All that Maganbhai touches, from making fire-crackers to exporting khakras, is a disaster. A housewife goes bananas over the loss of a vadki or what you call a katori. Some of the stories take a surrealist...

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