Book Reviews - Snapshots of life
by Suma Varughese
From me to you, Author: Sathya Saran, Published By:Westland,Pages: 212, Rs 250
Sathya Saran, the former editor of Femina, who then went on to edit the hugely successful Me magazine, has always enjoyed an appreciative audience for her thoughtful, sensitive columns written over the last 14 years. It is,therefore, entirely in the order of things that she has finally published a book based on a selection of her columns.
In turn candid, reflective, descriptive, concerned, caring, the book contains the many faces and moods of an innately sensitive and perceptive soul. Her elegant prose is full of little details that enable us to see the world from her eyes. Her portrayal of some of the ordinary men and women she meets in her travels is touching because it always recognises their humanity. There is the roadside beggar in whose sharp features and chiselled face-cut she spots a potential beauty queen. Instead, on the mean streets, her good looks invite exploitation. She ends, ” I thought again of the picture her face would make, as it looked down from some gallery wall at men and women in fine clothes looking at it and discussing it. And, I thought to myself, I would title it simply: 'A wasted life'.”
Then there is Chintu, the young cleaner of a railway compartment whose enthusiasm and good cheer is a sharp contrast to the discontent of the pampered urbanite. She writes, “And then he dazzled us with a smile – and was off, spindly legs moving on as fast as they could, a song on his lips. Hope and optimism lighting his way."
Her vulnerable pieces are disarming, like the one in which she confesses to not quite recognising the person she had become. Her closing line is beautiful: “As I wander through, I hope to find again the person who would, when she stepped on a pencil, apologise to it. I know I’ll find her. She’s there within me still.”
But it is in her pieces on nature that her soul speaks most strongly. Her serenade to the moon, her evocation of her childhood tree friend, are conveyed with poetic fervour. Here is a book that shines light on the little things of life, which are, ultimately, the only things in life.
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