Collection of 7 stories.
Not my first time, but first extensive reading of Nirmal Verma.
One of the writers who have looked captivating and mysterious to me from times unknown, the introduction was a pleasant one. He is all the things I expected him to be. The amazing fluidity of his language, avoiding both pedantic language and Urdu inclinations, wafts lightly over the mountain clouds. His language has that elusive dreamy quality. You hear his words, as if in a half-remembered dream of yours, in a winter's night, hanging listlessly between a long-forgotten pain and the sweet fragrance of once-young love.
His voice beckons to the mountains, to the places where I desire to go the most, the places which stand transfixed in time, forever embedded in his memory as the world he saw it then and created it.
There are a few hiccups to this ascending stairway to heaven, at least the once I experienced in my amateurish folly. Surrounded by depressive, consumptive protagonists, living in desolate places, his monologue sometimes go too far from humanity, or the 'more' human part of the consciousness, wandering into the half-unknown alleys and backyards of the mind, which are far too many, and often meaningless in their complexity. His protagonists, if they were real, would have gone insane by now, either from loneliness or complete absence of speech. The narrative, vivid and strong as it is, weakens the protagonists from within.
Enough said. He and Ruskin Bond have something in common: Mountains. And I love anyone who loves mountains. Yet to discover him fully, more beauty lies hidden.