Charming Short Stories

O P Sharma
Name of Book : Shabdon Ki Shatranj
Author : Rajeshwar Singh “Raju”
Publisher : Maya Sansar Publication, Jammu
Year : 2023
Pages 126
Price : Rs. 300

“Shabdon Ki Shatranj” is a collection of stories written in Hindi by eminent writer Rajeshwar Singh ‘Raju’ who is recipient of Bal Sahitya Puraskar award during 2022 and J&K State award for literature in 2023.
This 126-pages book in Hindi contains seven stories:’Savan Ka Chotha Saomwar”, “Bruno” ‘Khabar”, “Phir Milenge”, “Gustakian’, “Napusank” and “Shabdon Ki Shatranj” I have gone through the stories and found them interesting and instructive worth time spent on them with pleasure.
The first story titled “Sawan Ka Chotha Somwar” is a beautiful story interwoven around a unique plot which revolves around a chance meeting of Avantika, a beautiful girl hailing from Palampur ( Himachal Pradesh) with a young boy from Jammu. He had gone to Himachal Pradesh with his friends to enjoy an outing and visits world famous Shiva Temple at Baijnath during the month of Sawan on auspicious Monday . He is also an ardent devotee of Lord Shiva. While having conversation with the beauty from hills, he experiences a strange connection with her and the story takes many dimensions: ups and downs packed with suspense which makes story even more interesting. Although story has a tragic end but surely leaves a memorable imprint on the minds of readers.
Absorbing Narrative
Rajeshwar has a special place for birds and animals in his heart which is evident from his books that carry special articles and stories related to them. Bruno, the second story relates to a pet dog that is just like a family member of a family comprising of a mother, her son and daughter. Although the pet is brought to get mother out of loneliness but he becomes a popular figure of the entire family. However with the passage of time and developments taking place after the daughter leaves for abroad and marriage of son, the poor dog BRUNO gets sidelined knowingly and also unknowingly. His growing age and sickness also becomes a concern. The story has a sympathetic end where every character seems helpless. On the other hand ” Khabar ” is a story of strange bondage between a father and his son. Son, who is a pilot in Air Force does not share ups and downs of his life with his father with a mindset that it will trouble him in his old age. Moreover, father remains sick also and son thinks that sharing worries will put him in more trouble whereas father wishes that his son should share all happenings with him. On a fateful day when he first discloses the news of his safe arrival from enemy country, father gets delighted and his eyes become wet due to deep emotions.
Sustained Interest
“Phir Milenge” is another absorbing story that revolves around a unique theme that narrates about the love propagating out of some romantic situations and sequences. The story revolves around an accidental meeting between a young man and a young girl that develops into a strange bond between the two. Then one day they just become strangers to each other ! But time plays the real magic. When both meet each other again, then they decide to part away and remain strangers forever.
“Gustakhian” the subsequent story is a tale of an introvert young girl, Rupali who gets fascinated with a man unknowingly that he is married to. When she comes to know about it she rebukes him for having deceived her and breaks up with him. Although the man tries to woo her and assures her that he will divorce his wife to marry her but she is not ready to ruin his family and decides to exit from any relation with him. When the man, who had been transferred to another city visits the same city again after some years, he gets stunned to find Rupali a completely changed character. Another story titled” Napusank” is a bold story that advocates that those who don’t take advantage of favorable situations thus exploiting the emotions or momentarily weakness of relations are not impotent. On the contrary, they are the gusty persons who have the strength to hold on emotions. The story revolves around the dilemma of a young girl who gets married to another person but finds her love intervening in her married life. The story has twists that makes it an interesting plot for the readers.
Real-life Stories
“Shabdon Ki Shatranj” is the last story in the collection of Hindi stories which revolves around the performers of a theatre group wherein love connection shows different colours. While portraying different characters, the actors get a connection with fellow performers which sometimes develops into affairs and many a time these emotional moments get preserved as golden memories in Golden pages of golden period of life. The crux of the story is that the words are used as Pawn, Knight, Bishop, Rook, Queen and King of Chess to win over others by many but there are others also who are not accustomed to it and do show their character.
While evaluating “Shabdon Ki Shatranj”, it may be said that each story has a different plot and not only is it a pleasing experience for the readers but certainly the stories are thought provoking . The language is simple which develops an easy connection with the readers. Although this is a fiction work but gives a familiar feel and take us into a new world through the magic of words to feel an everlasting experience thus walking through the plots along with real-life characters and enjoying the memorable ride.
Must Read for All
The title of this book is well designed by Mrinalini Singh in an attractive, creative way with symbolic representations of the stories. The book has quality printing on a fine paper and good get-up. The writer has dedicated the book to his parents and says that have always blessed him.