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The Joy of a Good Short Story

There is something so satisfying about writing short stories. One gets to create a plot, unfold it, and throw down a big reveal all within the matter of less than ten thousand words.

While novels have always been the preferred form of expression for my writing (there is still something fascinating about building a story’s elements and allowing them to slowly come together), some tales are simply not long enough to warrant a full length book. And yet, a short story can often evoke emotions to match their longer-worded brethren.

Many of my favourite stories as a child were short stories. This was partly because they didn’t take as long to read, and I was sorely lacking in patience. However, short stories also stayed with you precisely because of how concise they were. As a result, you were always able to remember them in their entirety. Even today, I tell stories to my son which I read as a young boy. Many of these came from Target – which was a magazine for children that was sadly discontinued in the mid-nineties, but which consistently churned out interesting and well written stories.

Among my most cherished stories was one called ‘Dal Delight’, which told the tale of a young boy whose father, a chef, is asked by the Nawab to make his famous dal (cooked lentils) for him. The father is temperamental and insists that the dal, which takes a whole day to prepare, must be eaten at precisely the right time the following day. The boy’s attempts to ensure the Nawab reaches his father’s restaurant on time makes up the key conflict within the story. Knowing the father will throw the dal away if the Nawab is late, the boy enlists his friend to help him. The description of the aromas surrounding the food and the reaction of the Nawab when he dips his roti into the dal and tastes it for the first time has stayed with me all these years. And that’s not all. I can vividly trace my own love for dal (which I hated as a child), to the moment it was described in this story. To this day, I will dip my roti into a good dal and utter “Wah!” as the Nawab did in the short story all those years ago.

So, it’s safe to say that despite their brevity, great short stories do have the power to reach into our souls and change how we think forever.

Starting June 2020, I will be releasing a series of short stories titled: Threaded Shorts. The stories will cover a range of topics, including cricket, crime, murder, dark comedy, and even childish schoolboy pranks gone horribly wrong. I hope that these stories can evoke the same feelings in my readers as so many shorts have done for me.

Do watch this space for more information.

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