A Bouquet of Emotions
A short story is a love affair, it comes glancing by, like fleeting emotions. Ram Kamal Mukherjee’s first fictional work Long Island Iced Tea, is a collection of short stories that adheres to this myriad world of emotions and dreams. As one flips from one story to the other, a dream unfolds within a dream, capturing ephemeral desires, tears of betrayal and loss of trust. Having spent more than two decades as a celebrated movie journalist and editor of Stardust, Mukherjee brings in decisive moments of human relations with elan, probably ones he witnessed in real life, behind silver screens.
His female protagonists are bold, ready to break social rules. They challenge social diktats, yet at times die within confines of common female attributes of jealousy and betrayal of trust. Like his protagonist Madhurima of Madam, The Shot Is Ready is insecure, she is the silver screen diva and not ready to leave her throne even to a more talented daughter. A reader can instantly relate to a complex mother-daughter relationship through Madhurima. While, rebel Lopa ((On The Other Side) is ready to bear the love child despite resistance from family and even after being abandoned by the man she loved. But a woman’s heart can be emotionally vulnerable too. Mukherjee captures this vulnerability through Moushumi (A Broken Frame), a woman betrayed by all because she could not conceive and produce an heir.
The irony of a short story evolves and culminates in an unexpected twist. True to this trend, Mukherjee’s short stories create an almost poetic atmosphere, presenting a unified impression of temper, tone, colour and effect. If Madhurima’s daughter Naina forgives her mother and moves on, Lopa has a shocking news to face in the end, while Moushumi reveals a greater surprise through her death. Such spins and twists make Long Island Iced Tea stand out from the rest.
The cover page of the book by Pinky Roy is chic and happening, lifting the mood of the title.
Long Island Iced Tea; Ram Kamal Mukherjee