I sit to review this book and coincidence strikes me rather suddenly. It is Mother’s day today and this book is based in a city that my mother associates with ‘home’. After all, it was in Bangalore that she lived until she got married and left her dear city for Bombay.
I have very fond memories of Bangalore as it was Ammamma’s home and summer holidays meant a trip with mom to her ‘maika’. I can’t help but feel nostalgic as I attempt to revisit the sights and sounds of Bangalore recreated beautifully in the short stories that comprise ‘The Red Carpet’ by Lavanya Sankaran.
“Bangalore was a strange city, a potpourri of beggars and billionaries and determinedly laid back ways”. “They (the Bangaloreans) spoke of their city’s attractions to visitors in tones of disparaging surprise. Oh. You like the weather? Yeah, it’s okay. I guess. Cool. Blue skies and all”. “A chill crowd, like. Doing ultra cool things chumma, simply, for no reason other than to do it”. These lines from one of the short stories in the book, aim to capture the way of life that that unites the native people. In retrospect, it maybe that due to this very outlook that people from all over India and more recently expats, feel welcome in this melange of humanity.
Lavanya Sankaran writes with an ease that is difficult to achieve in short stories as one is limited by the length of prose. I usually give you a glimpse into the titles of the stories but this time, I won’t be as objective. The stories that she tells us address societal change, generational gaps and most importantly give us insight into the lives of people living in Bangalore.
I enjoyed every story and would have liked to get to know the characters a bit better. I suppose I was so drawn into the stories that I wished for more! Having said that, the book is unique in that, it is able to deftly catch the changing pulse of a society in transition.