New Delhi , Sept.23 : Humour, acerbic wit and satire stem from a literary genre that makes you chuckle, smirk or sneer. And if this rendition comes with a vibrant play of picturesque words, it brings alive characters that lend certain unique depth to the narration. Renee Ranchan's debut collection of short stories, To Each With Love: A Satiric Rendition, is one such remarkable attempt at portraying the contemporary India - be it the feudal class, the lower or upper middle class, or for that matter the snobbish elite.
Internationally renowned Reginald Massey, Fellow of Royal Society of Arts, London, has commended the book in as many words: "In my considered opinion, The Fiefdom! and From the Attic are minor masterpieces. In the former, for the first time, I have read the traumas and tribulations of professional Indians living in a third-class feudal society based on caste and class. She is the first writer who has written on this sensitive subject with such insight. And indeed, For Your Loins, Sir can be scripted into a ground-breaking Bollywood film."
Interestingly Massey traces the trajectory of short stories penned skilfully by Anton Chekhov, Guy de Maupassant, O. Henry, Oscar Wilde and closer home the Nobel Laureate Gurudev Tagore, Munshi Premchand and Saadat Hasan Manto before he deduces that "... Ranchan's stories have a strange charisma about them, and that is what seduced me to read them with pleasure and immense interest. They explore the hypocrisy of Indian society at every level, and she delves deep into the psychology of the devastating Indian Mother figure, who sustains, and at the same time devours Mother India."
The experiential reality of the varied social milieu grips you, as whiffs of Ranchan's memories of everyday life find a 'tangible form'. The author's insightful grasp of the human psyche amid distraught situations, with an inimitable light-heartedness is truly engaging. Be it the portrayal of a stereotype bahu Vimla Jain awaiting the birth of a son to salvage her marital status; a country bumpkin Chander metamorphosing into a street savvy domestic aide; a frustrated spinster school teacher Lulla fighting demons of her singlehood; a sophisticated memsaab Andrea bringing to fore the gaping class contrast and its inherent conflict; a Rebecca grappling with the vagaries of family inheritance; or a Kashmiri Mataji with honey and peach complexion ruing her youthful days as she passes away: "It was a banana-mooned night when the sky was more sapphire-shaded than black. The moon unfurling this blueness, pulling the brightest stars to itself. That was the night when Mataji was found dead. Her baby pink mouth pouting a newborn smile, the blue sky in her eyes bright."