Reading the book "Life as I've seen it" by Laya Bajpai allows readers to download in the atmosphere of modern India. The book includes several short stories each is with an independent plot. Each of them looks as a glimpse into the life of person, group of people or society. The reading would be compared with watching documentary but reading gives a better feeling of being there.
The first story was named "The Guilt". It tells the story of a person who betrayed his first love in a dangerous situation, he ran away when the couple met the gang in the Indian town. We don't know what happened with his girl, the author focused on the life of the main character. After his life changed and he moved from India to the USA, the story erased in his memory when he saw the TV program about riots in India. It seems that Laya Bajpai avoided judging him, the author left this to readers. The current life of the protagonist seems unclouded but the guilt of his treachery will stay with him for all his life.
My favorite story from the book was the second one with the title "A strange Occurrence". This story was written from the first face of the narrator. It was her reminiscences of the girl 9 years old who lived in a small town in the state of Maharashtra, in India. The author described the society pointing out the belonging to definite religious group (Parsi, Catholics) and according to their occupations and origins (staying in Sanatoriums, arriving from Bombay). The girl usually came back home from the school with her father on his scooter. Once she said that she was going to stay in school longer and she would come back home alone, by herself, even it was a long way and her father agreed with it. While she was walking home the heavy rain started. This is how it was described by the author:
"Suddenly it started raining heavily and as I had no raincoat or umbrella, I started getting drenched. The distance was long and in-between there was a nullah that had started overflowing and water was coming on to the road. I was terribly scared and also had no money in my pocket to catch a bus, nor did I know anything about the bus routes, so, I started crying."
This passage gives readers a vivid picture of the girl who appeared in the situation where she was not familiar with. Unknown three ladies were sitting on their verandah watching the rain, they asked the girl what happened and invited her to stay for a while with them. They suggested to sit on the veranda and to wait while they prepared something to eat and left her. The girl thought: "I had heard stories of people who steal children by giving them good food to eat. I was suspicious. So, when nobody came out of the house for quite some time, I quietly slipped out and as it had stopped raining, I walked home.".
The childish imagination often draws in the mind the mixture of fantasy and reality. This feeling is very recognizable and it is what attracts me in this story. This style of writing reminds me the advice given by one very famous author. He advised to write about what you feel and do it sincerely. It is what readers eager to read and this was implemented perfectly in the book "Life as I've seen it".
I had a chance to discuss this story with the author- Laya Bajpai, with whom I had a lesson about English literature.
This book is available for buying on Amazon: