A Window Lived In A Wall – Vinod Kumar Shukla
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Raghuvar Prasad teaches mathematics at a mofussil town college. He travels to work by jitney, cramming into the little spaces left by other passengers, their milk cans, vegetable baskets and the like. Sometimes, these jitneys have not the slightest gap he can squeeze into, and Raghuvar Prasad must find other ways to commute. And that’s how, on the day his newly-wed bride arrives in town, Raghuvar Prasad happens to come home riding an elephant. She imagines elephants are a part of his regular lifestyle.
A Window Lived in the Wall delicately peels back the many layers of Raghuvar and Sonsi’s beautiful marriage. While there is the grandeur of an elephant outside, there is also the minimalism of their home. Their possessions are meagre, their one-room rental barely accommodates a bed and some kitchen utensils. But beyond the window of their one room is a magical place that sustains Raghuvar Prasad and Sonsi’s spirit.
At a time when critics have announced a crisis of imagination in Hindi literary fiction, Vinod Kumar Shukla continues to dazzle us with his investigations of the hidden magic in ordinary things. A work of deceptive simplicity from one of the finest writers of our times.
About the Author
Vinod Kumar Shukla is a Hindi writer, known for evoking in the most extraordinary manner the inner lives of people, using language that is as spare and free of frills as their worldly possessions. His first novel, Naukar Ki Kameez, was published in 1979, and made into a film by Mani Kaul in 1999. In the same year, Shukla was given the Sahitya Akademi Award for his novel Deewar Mein Ek Khirki Rehti Thi (A Window Lived in a Wall). His novel Khilega Toh Dekhenge (Once It Flowers, 1996) is considered one of the most iconic novels of Hindi literature. His work has appeared in international journals like Granta, Modern Poetry in Translation, Some Kind of Beautiful Signal, The Baffler and n+1.