29 July, 2021

Stealing The Moment

Read Manjula for her versatility and for the revelation that the shortest distance between two human points is never a straight line.

Stealing The Moment
Manjula Padmanabhan is very good at stretching taut the fabric of reality to help each crease speak; and there lies a world in every crease. She does this with great wit and intelligence when her self occupies the centres of her story-world, as in the earlier Getting There and, in this collection, Morning Glory in East of Kailash. She’s also effective when she takes apart the machine of experience, holding cogs up to light: Hosts advance to receive guests "teeth bared in ritual smiles" and from the political thickness of a dining table seating chatty friends, the hostess catches the bearer’s eye and nods her approval.

This flair is best showcased in the title story, which begins as a foray into the meanings of ‘kleptomania’ (including the unplanned compulsion of writers to steal experiences from those around them). This is woven around a kleptomaniac "incident" that’s more surprising than you’d expect. But the story walks further than the "twist in the tale", down a thorny path, and sits with its bleeding feet to think on...

Sadly, this instinct is missing...

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