Thursday, February 14, 2013

Richa Bhattarai's "Fifteen and Three Quarters"

The stories in Richa Bhattarai's "Fifteen and Three Quarters" have teenage love as a common theme. What are the characteristics of teenage love? I detect impulsiveness and possessiveness in the teenage characters in most of the stories. One can see instant break up and patch up among lovers. In "And then there were none", a female character spurns her pining lover to go into the arms of another guy who turns out to be a philanderer. Horrified with his infidelity, she rushes back to her "true" lover only in vain. This serves as the best instance of impulsiveness. Characters in almost all stories are possessive. My "someone" is repeated often in the stories. Now, there are not only romantic love stories but filial love ("Poetry Personified"), figuratively maternal love ("Apple Mango in Raspberry"), love between friends are also to be seen. Richa possesses a good grasp over literary language which is seen in the story "Soybean". There are repartees, rhyming words, one-liners and play of language which pleased me. The long story "Three Quarters" shows Richa's power of storytelling. It has the Rashomon-effect in the narrative as three characters tell their versions of the same event, leaving the reader to judge the character. This story certainly proves that Richa can go far ahead in literary writing. The story "ABOBA" shows that Richa has a knack for humor as well. However, there are certain drawbacks in the stories as well. The female characters are not strong and assertive enough which I was expecting from a female writer. The events in the stories seem to veer off from reality at times and the writer seems to be inspired from books and movies rather than the real life. One instance of filminess (or filmsiness, for that matter) is "Sand in my Eye" in which the inanimate sand functions as a hero that saves a damsel in distress in a filmy manner. The romantic horror story with premonition as its anchor event, "Only in my Dreams" too feels unreal and filmy. If Richa carries out research on a topic that she is writing and sharpens her skills in story-telling, she will certainly leave her mark in literary world. 

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