Warm vignettes from life

Last Updated 31 July 2010, 13:29 IST

A recurring theme in the book is respect for all forms of life. Human beings are not superior to other living things and each has an important role to play in maintaining nature’s balance. Saran’s stories highlight her passion to protect the environment and her efforts to educate people about conserving nature.

The book is divided into sub-sections, each pertaining to a particular subject. The one on ‘Nature’ is sheer lyricism, as Saran waxes eloquent about the majestic moon, fragrant rains, lovely trees, a busy beetle and other threatened wonders of creation.

Another favourite theme of the author is the fast pace of life and concomitant with it, the increasing materialism, self-obsession and intolerance of human beings. Saran gently reminds us of the need to look beyond our petty selves and appreciate the world around. In one story, she skillfully contrasts the petty grumbles of the ‘haves’ with that of Chintu, a cleaner on a train, who maintains a cheerful disposition despite his poverty. 

Some writings highlight the contradictions in our actions and beliefs. For instance, while referring to the Indian tradition of respect for paper, which should not be trampled upon, on account of being a symbol of Goddess Saraswati, Sathya ruefully remarks, “We are a nation with an intrinsic respect for things inanimate. Rocks and stones can be holy; the sky and planets have supernatural significance...Yet, when it comes to human beings, the system seems to fail. We, who see God in the inanimate, fail to see it in the highest creatures of his creation.”

In fact, as the other stories indicate, the respect for God exists in isolation, as it does not extend to any of his creations.  

Saran’s feminist streak also comes to light in her reflections.  One such story is a touching account of the generosity and large-heartedness of poor women artisans in rural Bihar who gift her lac bangles, made by themselves.

Another piece aptly analyses the leadership qualities of women as decision makers in their homes. Her message is loud and clear that with leadership qualities of passion, power and perseverance, women can, and should, become agents of change in society.
Sathya’s stories often give her reader the impression that she is having an honest conversation with her inner self while deliberating on the actions of people around her.
What is refreshing is that while she holds a mirror to society, she does not spare herself, when she is found wanting.  In striving towards becoming a better person, she inspires the reader to do the same and says, “Immortality is not in the positions we hold or in the car we drive, it is in the good words we speak, that remain in others’ memories and in the good deeds we do that others benefit from and talk about, and pass on, even after we are gone.”

It is amazing how Saran manages to use personal impressions in the space of two to three pages to convey such strong and relevant messages. It is a pity that columns like hers are less visible in the papers and magazines of today, as celebrity stories hog space. 

Saran’s book leaves the reader wanting more, even as her thoughts and philosophy make a long lasting impression.

From me to you
Sathya Saran
Westland Ltd
2010, pp 212
Rs 250

(Published 31 July 2010, 13:29 IST)

Follow us on