24 November, 2020

Protean Stab To The Humdrum

At ease with her material, Bajaj flirts with stereotypes, only to spring a twist that glimpses into humanity’s profound ability to be lofty.

Protean Stab To The Humdrum
outlookindia.com
-0001-11-30T00:00:00+05:53

Desire for another woman, feigned ignorance of a cuckold and cathartic murders are quaint facts of life that inhabit our post-moral lives. Manjul Bajaj writes about these transgressions and treads the risky precipice of being saddled with uninspiring material. Yet, subliminal violence and paradoxes of the quotidian have always found an ally in the short story which delivers staccato and sharp irony.

The stories are set refreshingly—in hill towns, a shikara on the Dal lake, a mango orchard in Murshidabad, the pagan valleys over which menacing waters of the dam will flow. In these settings, moral slippages central to each plot take on a timeless quality and we are not obliged to feel squeamish about archetypes such as spinster aunts, the forest girl with flowing hair, an artsy lover, a grotesque husband. Completely at ease with her material, Bajaj skirts dangerously close to stereotypes, only to spring a little twist that alters, quietly subverts and in doing so provides a glimpse into human nature’s profound ability to be lofty.

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