Through these stories, each linked, each disparate, Daruwalla asks what it means to abandon an island or inhabit one. He also asks what it means to allow an island to ‘sail within us’. For each of the characters is on a private journey, a reclusive flight inwards, towards an isle of peace, an isle beyond questions of faith and unbelief, an isle past remembrance and forgetting.
Ultimately, each character is an island unto himself or herself, from the retiring vagrant on Bird Island, to Dinaz, feeling her way on her own through a fast receding past, to the wild Khampa, severed from his people, who realises ‘there must be worse things than being alone, but I don’t know what they are.’
In these short stories, Daruwalla’s love for the sea becomes evident, as also his yearning for a kind of solitude, which evades us in this overcrowded century. Equally, in a style rich in humour, irony, and compassion, his preoccupation with the modern human condition comes to the fore: its drift away from an anchoring mainland, its island-like seclusion, its quiet search for fullness.
About the Author
Keki N Daruwalla is a renowned Indian poet and a writer of stories in English. He is best-known for his poetry collection and was awarded the Sahitya Academy Award as well as the Commonwealth Poetry Prize in Asia for the same. He also received the Padma Shri. Riding The Himalaya, Love Across The Salt Desert, The Glass Blower: Selected Poems, Sword and Abyss: A Collection of Short Stories and more are some of his other works.