A Symphony of Chance Encounters by Sayujya Sankar
How beautifully this young author has interwoven music with an interesting array of encounters that swell the soul as one reads about them! Sayujya Sankar has written a book that needs to be read, as much for its literary language and its choice poetry, as for the stories that leave an impact once the reading is done.
Whether it is ‘A Sane Insanity’ of a woman in turmoil , the saga of a childhood friendship that suddenly ends in tragedy in ‘A Carton Full of Love’, or the unlikely bond between an erudite college teacher and a construction worker who gives her a glimpse of his life, the words touch the heart. In the last mentioned, the words “Another half narrative” leave the reader with a sense of intense pathos at the end of “An Incomplete Building”.
In ‘Wisps of Grass’, a writer with a successful formula comes across a nonchalant young woman who dares to criticize his writing, and the reader is drawn into a relationship which turns gentler as it progresses. The intense loneliness that comes through in ‘Alone’ contrasts brilliantly with the joy that is experienced by two lovers in the symphony ‘Wonderful Tonight’, taken from the Eric Clapton song. “The caged bird in me opened its prison doors and flitted into the summer skies.”
What I cannot stop admiring is the beauty of the language that is so akin to poetry. ‘Aarohi’ reveals a bewitching play of words revolving around two strangers, a dancer and an aspiring dancer, who hear a melody in their heads, which brings them together in a crescendo of music and rain. “In the picture in her mind, she raises her hands in a dramatic act – feeling an invisible coffin around her.” In ‘Perforated Perfumes’, reminiscent of Chitra Banerjee’s ‘Mistress of Spices’, one can almost smell the fragrances bottled up in coloured glass, for she, the shop, “contains all the secrets on the world.”
‘Of Dragon Fire and Cuckoo Song’ sings of Neha from Chennai and Thangjam from Manipur , bringing out “the differences between her dragon fire and the crackling of his kitchen flames”.
However, my favourite story of all (and it was one difficult choice!) remains ‘An Almost Rendezvous’, where, amidst cups of creamy hot chocolate in a cafe, a young college student finds inspiration from a woman writer through just a Neil Gaiman quote scribbled on a piece of paper left under a tray.
Every story is preceded by a poem that gives one a hint of what lies ahead. Sayujya proves that she has music in her soul as she turns strangers into friends and more, through musical notes. This book is certainly going to make her many friends and admirers.
“The words merge.
The thoughts flow to engulf each other.
And now, we hear
Of chance encounters.”