To paraphrase the immortal genius, Vincent Van Gogh, “let’s not forget that the little emotions are the great captains of our lives and we obey them without realizing it.” Meha Sharma captures this spontaneous interplay of emotions in a spectacular way in her collection of short stories, “Rainbow Housing Society.”
Recounted by a loving labrador named Bruno, “Rainbow Housing Society” embraces within its confines and embraces within its scope a myriad of human emotions that invoke, in equal and alternative measure, laughter and tears. For the uninitiated “Rainbow Housing Society” is an upmarket condominium, that houses inhabitants ranging from the peculiar to the pleasant. As is to be imagined, there is a simmering undercurrent of relationships, overt and covert that characterises the mutual recognition of the inhabitants of the society.
The context for the lovely collection is set in the first story titled, “Animal Instincts.” Bruno takes his eager readers through the methods employed by him to gather secrets which hitherto remained locked and would have continued to remain that way but for the intrepid outlook of Bruno!
What follows is a mesmerizing patchwork of 25 stories that make the reader to sit up and take notice. A pastiche of contrasting emotions, these stories cause pleasure and inflict pain. While it would be both unjustified and unethical to reveal all the 25 stories, here are five of my favourites:
Caregiver is a heart rending story of a geriatric who sacrifices every perceivable comfort in life to take care of a grandson. Necessitated by economic circumstances, hers is a trial that bears ample testimony to the human character of resilience and selflessness;
The heartwarming story of Arjun, his wife Alia, and their child Adira brings a tear to the eyes of the reader. This story teaches the tenets of co-operation, love and a reciprocal respect that keeps every relationship not just going, but positively humming!
This is a story straight out of the Horatio Alger playbook! Meera, a small town girl, an almost village belle is out of her depths in the teeming, throbbing cosmopolitan set up that is Rainbow Housing Society. Matters are not made tolerable when the veteran residents of the Society do nothing pre-preemptive to make this new occupant comfortable. How Meera overcomes her inhibitions and carves a niche out for herself is the core and crux of this marvelous story.
Arguably the most powerful story in the book, Joy serves as a lesson to every indifferent parent who either unwittingly or involuntarily neglects the needs, aspirations and expectations of their child/children. The manner in which this aspect has been highlighted by Meha warms the very cockles of the heart. Essential reading for every parent.
Zest For Life:
Bruno’s own story that serves to being the covers down upon the book, hits the reader like a ton of bricks. The story takes an unexpected twist that induces a slobber-knocker impact on the reader!
“Rainbow Housing Society” boldly tackles in a very bold and frank manner a whole gamut of societal issues ranging from LGBTQ rights to InVitro Fertilization. The narrative is refreshing and extremely pleasing on the eye. The stories are not unduly long and the reader can breeze through the same in an effortless manner. This is one rainbow that surely has a pot of gold at its end!