Author: Waryam Singh Sandhu
Translator(s): Akshey Kumar
Publisher: Sahitya Akademi
ISBN/UPC (if available): 8126019573
The short stories The Fourth Direction, I am feeling fine now and Holiday are set against the turbulent times of terrorism in Punjab. The Fourth Direction emphasizes the sense of awe and fear that gripped the masses, while it explores the psyche of the people living in an atmosphere of mutual distrust and suspicion. I am feeling fine now, a long short story that runs into fifty four pages, describes rural life seen through the eyes of an ordinary god-fearing farmer. It is the reaction to the onslaught on golden Temple (1984), and the trials and tribulations which ordinary people had to bear form the security forces as well as the militant youth. Providing an insight into State terrorism as well as militant terrorism, Sandhu effectively places the dog Tommy-who symbolizes ultimate loyalty-at the center of the story to evoke a deep sense of pathos.
Holiday brings into sharp focus the narrow-minded and selfish approach of people to poignant events. The last short story Nine Twelve Ten takes one to the heights of fantasy through the central character Ninder, while at the same time, revealing how differences of caste remain deeply etched in people’s minds. Shadows, written against the backdrop of partition in 1947, focuses on the cordial relations between the two communities, Hindus and Muslims, which withstood political compulsions. All the stories convey how political events impact the lives of ordinary citizens, and retain relevance to our times of increasing ethnic violence and nationalist chauvinism.
The Fourth Direction
I am feeling fine now
Nine Twelve Ten