Fiction anthology


KATHAVAHINI 2004: Rachana Sai — Compiler; Vahini Book Trust, 1-9-286/3,Vidyanagar, Hyderabad-500044. Rs. 100.

THIS VOLUME is an anthology of 34 stories. The introductory story "Srikakule-Mahakshetre" (in the sacred land of Srikakulam), Veturi Sundararamamurty depicts cultural crosscurrents of a heritage town in charming neo-classical style.

Vedanidhi of Upadrasta Sai highlights the universality of Vedas. With electronic gadgets reciting mantras, Sambhudu the priest becomes disillusioned. While his other children prosper with modern education, Satyam, the youngest goes out in search of true knowledge. Sambhudu leaves his native place and reaches a famous hermitage near Mahabalipuram.

Choudary who offered his palace for the ashram was overwhelmed when the great saint prostrated before Sambhudu. Vedanidhi (Satyam) explained, "One thought there was no future for Vedic study and the other nourishes the same; both of you discover the divinity of the Vedas."

Jalandhara in her story Veluturu (light) shows how human susceptibilities are exploited by power-seekers. Unable to adjust to the lifestyle of her husband Mitra, a successful politician, Nandini leaves him only to be exploited soon by his opponent Verma.

Learning that Verma was planning to eliminate Mitra she rushes to her husband praying for his pardon and advice. He proclaims, "In this melting pot of politics and parties, profit and loss, ask yourself, `Who am I?'." An effective message of the Hindu philosophical concept, "Know thyself." Rachana Sai has done a good job of presenting the best of the contemporary stories in a capsule.

P. V. L. N. RAO

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