Bring Out the Tall Tales is a collection of short stories by Santosh Bakaya and Avijit Sarkar. The stories are about everyday occurrences, but they leave a deep impression on the reader. They give us, in the words of the author Michele Baron, a “localized version of the human condition, and, if we take time to listen to the words, and to the associations and symbolism behind them, we can experience that symbiosis between author and reader, between life, hope, and dreams”.
The authors have not shied away from mixing local Hindi colloquialisms with English both in order to highlight serious situations and to turn up the hilarity, whichever a scene requires.
During one such scene, in a short story titled «At the Railway Crossing», by Dr Santosh Bakaya, a boy along with kalash yatris can be seen dancing in the middle of a railway track that leads to grumpy passengers to remark, “Yeh sarkar nahi chalegi. Railway crossing per aisy koi dance kerta hai?” [This government is going to fall. Does anyone dance like that at the railway crossing?] There is a tonal shift when you move from the stories of Dr Santosh Bakaya to those of Avijit Sarkar. While the former displays society’s problems through the frustrations of her characters, the latter tries to put a funny spin on his tales.
One of Avijit Sarkar’s story, “An Abstract Afternoon” is full of wit and humour and has him describing his, “first and last foray into the world of abstract art”. His story has only two characters that embody the typical curious Indian mindset, which longs for the exceptional without understanding the ordinary. A lot of humour stems from the protagonist not really understanding what constitutes art in today’s world. His growing frustration about the same allows a tension to be built up, setting the stage for an intense climax. The ending would resonate with anyone who finds himself or herself absolutely lost when it comes to things related to art.
Dr Santosh Bakaya is the recipient of the Reuel International Prize for Writing and Literature (2014) for her long poem Oh Hark!, and of the Universal Inspirational Poet Award in 2016 conferred jointly by Pentasi B. Friendship Poetry Group and the Ghana government. She is also an acclaimed scholar and novelist.
Avijit Sarkar is a writer, poet, musician, illustrator and philanthropist from Sydney, Australia. He is the editor of a monthly e-zine, The Mind Creative, has been writing prose and poetry for over 20 years now and has been in the music industry for over 20 years.
This book will appeal to those readers who turn to fiction to uncover the mysteries of everyday life. It is written in a very casual style. It has multiple literary references, such as to Robert Frost, and to Agatha Christie’s Hercule Poirot along with Don Quixote and Walt Whitman. Yet the stories go beyond the literary sphere, and into the wider world. Sarkar’s illustrations flowing from his creative buffet, that accompany the stories, are sure to bring a smile upon every reader’s face.