Hungry Stones and Other Stories
ISBN: 9788171677139

Tagore, Rabindranath, 1861-1941.

Some stories reveal why Tagore was reviled, in his time (perhaps even today), by some for his writings. Specifically, his speaking up, subtly and at times explicitly, against traditions and customs like the caste system. Like “Once There Was A King” (some lines taking a dig at how adults take away the joy of enjoying stories), “The Kingdom of Cards”, and “The Renunciation”.

Stories like “The Home-Coming” and “My Lord, The Baby” revolve around the theme of parent-child relationships.

“The Devotee” (a woman who took upon herself to worship the author as a god; as the story unfolds the woman isn’t quite as mad as she seems to be) was more philosophical, and perhaps an allegory about the real priorities in life. And what it means to really live.

Reading the translated words made me wonder if any of the magic was lost in interpretation.

Even if so, the flavour of the magic still comes through. Like “The Cabuliwallah”, a tale of his daughter’s childhood friendship with a street peddler.

The premise was simple (a father’s love for his child) but the magic was in the art of telling: separation, prejudices, the ageless, universal and instinctive fears parents have of strangers toward their offsprings. And of simple human empathy.