Simplicity is the hallmark of ‘Oduvilathe Kazhcha’, a collection of 19 short stories by Vakkom S. Bright. Perhaps the many roles he has taken up in life including that of a journalist, lawyer, government and a public relations manager stamped in him a deeper understanding of life.
Most of the stories are plucked out of the writer’s own life experiences. He observes and ponders on life in the light of his world experience and with seemingly compassionate eyes.
It is possible that the stories unraveled themselves with the author being just a willing medium. There is such a brutal honesty about them. Shorn of pretensions, they talk to the reader straight from the heart. The central character in many stories is Surya/ Kiran which can be taken as a veiled version of the author’s name.
The opening story 'Kaumarathile Kamini' is a narrative many people will identify in this age of social media tools. However, the protagonist’s experience is much more real and much more dramatic than any digital encounter.
It just leads you on and sets the pace for the book. This steady pace is sometimes interrupted in stories that take a meandering course. This reviewer loved best a refreshing take on life’s hypocrisies and pretensions presented through the title story 'Oduvilathe Kazhcha'. Its brilliance is in contrast to a story like 'Unnatharude Sadacharam' which surprises you with its triteness.
Relations and the loss of values in life are central themes in all the stories. The alienation of grown up children from aging parents brought about by urbanization and migration to greener pastures recurs as well.
In one story a mother wills it that her children do not get any share of her property. There is an undercurrent of pain in all the stories – at times a bitter-sweet pain of nostalgia and longing, but often a lament about ingratitude and a lack of compassion among the human species.
It is his third book following another set of short stories and a children’s book. Published by Priyadarshini Publications, the 114 page book is priced at Rs 100. Dr. M.R. Thampan, long serving Director of the State Languages Institute, has written the introduction.