Laghu Katha – I

If you’ve ever read hindi newspapers, then you probably know what a Laghu Katha is. It is the term for a very short story.
Punnen wrote a small essay on short films today. It reminded me of a laghu katha that I’d read a few years ago. It had/has a profound effect on me.
I thought I’d write my version of the story. Do let me know your views on the same. I might post some more stories in future.

The train reached on time. There wasn’t much rush at the railway station, however I was having a little difficulty finding an auto.

Suddenly, my attention was grabbed by a 10-11 year old girl, who was begging for something to eat. She reminded me of my niece, of same age, whom I had left several stations away. I couldn’t even wish her goodbye; didn’t want to wake her up so early.
Several thoughts clouded my mind. I was filled with empathy for this poor soul. I called her and gave her a 10 rupee note.

She looked at me for a while, and then looked around. Probably searching for something or someone. She then said, “Babuji, nobody comes towards the bushes besides platform 11. We can go there.”

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6 thoughts on “Laghu Katha – I

  1. I must say that was a pithy yet powerful short short-story. Any idea who the original author is? Chughtai? Manto? Premchand?

    It certainly takes a different sort of sensibility to write a powerful short-story that has the greatest impact with the least number of words. IMO, the best of the genre leave a lasting impression that stays with us throughout life. Also, not every good novelist is a good short-story writer. Guess they’re not able to follow that old maxim always – “A good short-story should be like a woman’s skirt – short enough to arouse interest, but long enough to cover the subject”! (No offence to the fairer sex of course.)

    With regards to short stories in English, while almost every author (including yours truly!) has dabbled in the form at one time or another, the authors I’d especially recommend reading are, in no particular order, Saki, Maupassant, O’Henry, Twain, Poe (author of classics such as The Tell-Tale Heart, The Cask of Amontillado and The Gold-Bug, to name a few), Washington Irving (author of Rip Van Winkle and The Legend of Sleepy Hollow), Chekhov, Tolstoy, Hemingway etc. And don’t even get me started on the whole sci-fi/fantasy/horror genre!

    BTW, for those who live life in the fast lane and don’t even have time to stop and smell the roses, leave alone read even short-stories, the following page has really short short-stories:

    Six Word Stories

    The Classic Short Stories page has a few good samples as well, plus a Google search will no doubt yield hundreds more. So happy short-story reading! 🙂

    P.S. Bips, can’t wait for you to post more in the same vein.

  2. amazing Bipin. When you meant short story…i didn’t think that short! 🙂

    Powerful…looking fwd to more…

  3. @Ravenent:
    Boy! Your comment is longer than my post. 🙂
    The story was not by any big reputed author, AFAIK. It was published in, Dainik Bhaskar, a Hindi Newspaper. Probably in 2001-2002.
    BTW, thanks a lot for all the suggestions. The trouble is I am not able to devote much time to reading novels/stories. Have too many pending/half-read tech books (Exploiting s/w, Silence on the wire, Hacking a Terror n/w, Spring, Java Specifications, IT Act 2000…. phew!)
    I have thus resorted to poetry (Baba Bulleh Shah, Ghalib…). You can guess from my blog’s title that William Cowper’s “The Solitude of Alexander Selkirk” is one of my most fave poems. [Honestly speaking, I’d have never EVER imagined in my childhood days that I’d someday read poetry :D].
    However, now that you’ve provided some interesting links, I’d love to spend a li’ll more time on stories.
    Thanks 🙂

    @Punnen:
    I initially thought of “tiny” stories, but seemed a li’ll funny to me 😛

    This piece is definitely an art. So please do not compare my next stories (don’t know when) with this piece. 🙂

  4. Very well ritn.. but I get a feelin dat it myt hav happnd in real lyf.
    Had it??
    Knowin u, it doesn’t sound impossibl. And d story is very poignant.

    Shit! I regret I read ur story. Now, I can’t sleep. Try 2 b cheerful frm d nxt tym on. Keep it up (the story rytin, not d tragedy).

  5. @Amrit:
    …Knowin u, it doesn’t sound impossibl…
    Hahaha… what the heck 😛

    Jokes apart.
    I received a similar reaction from several other friends that it’s pretty depressing and disturbing.
    I can completely understand and relate to that. It still disturbs me even after 5 years.

    But then I posted it as a reaction/support to Punnen’s statement on short films:
    …I’m blown away by the potential of this medium…
    Yes! These short movies/stories/songs/… have immense potential to change things around, IMHO.
    … and getting disturbed is a good thing. Isn’t it?
    It prepares you to face situations that might have left you numb.

    Now, answer to your question.
    Yes, I know someone who faced a similar incident… the difference being that:
    1. The narrator of the story was a rascal.
    2. The girl of the story was a boy.

    I am really very hesitant and don’t really know if I should have mentioned this (it’s about somebody’s personal life)… but then considering the trade-offs that it will help others to be careful, I think he’ll forgive me.

    See, even we are not safe 🙂

  6. Pingback: Laghu Katha - II « I am the monarch of all I Survey

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