“Obsession is the single most wasteful human activity, because with an obsession, you keep coming back and back and back to the same question, and you never get an answer.” – Norman Mailer
And yet, that’s what most of us tend to do. We obsess about some things and continue to do so, at times without even realizing it. The thing might be something that’s deep or something that’s frivolous, but it means something to us, or we think it means something to us, so we do it, we look for it, we hold on to it, we obsess about it. Frankly, we’re sometimes obsessed about obsession; though when it came to this book, it was more the cover page than the title that intrigued me. It showed loneliness, and that to me is one aspect of life, which is central to the book.
“Obsession: Stories about Life and Death” is a collection of short stories written by four authors. Each story explores human character, where lies that tendency to be obsessed with something. It explores emotions, both of the one who is obsessed as well as those around them. The stories made me smile at times, and at other times, shake my head in exasperation noticing their foibles and sometimes relating them to my own life.
My favorite story from the book has to be “Letting Go”. It’s the story of a death and life of the family after that death. It felt real. It felt very real. It strengthened the thought that death may take a person away from the world, but only the body dies. The person’s soul stays on, their presence stays on, and it’s hard to let go of that presence. Love keeps that presence there, and in that obsession with that love, one might not look at or understand the state of mind of others around them. The overwhelming feeling of sadness is such that another’s sadness will not seem big enough. The story showed this very well.
My least favorite story was “The Making of a Married Woman”. The reason I didn’t like it was that it was too long, and too one note to hold my interest completely. After few pages of the story that goes on for nearly 60 pages, I could know where it was headed, what will happen at the end, what the obsession was and who was obsessed. It didn’t hold my attention from page to page and I flipped quickly through pages rather than look at every word. I accept that there are people like the protagonist(s) in the story though.
Every story in this collection has a voice. Some I listened to eagerly, and some I just heard nearby. Most were beautiful, all were different and I liked reading them. The writing style is simple, fluid and at times, intense. It’s a collection that I will read again (at least the stories that I loved).
Title: Obsession: Eternal Stories of Life and Death
Gurpartap Khairah, Suraj Sinha,
Bishwa Sigdel and Stormy Hazarika
Genre: Short Stories
Publisher: Tara India Research Press
Price: INR 299
(30th December 2014)