Panorama by Shilpi Chaklanobis is a collection of short stories that take a byte of your day to day life. Imagine a scoop of ice cream, how it gets highlighted when it is taken out of a bucket and put on a plate or a cone. Shilpi’s Panorama is also like these scoops of different flavors of ice cream. She picks up stories that are so common that we tend to miss them. Stories that are so close to us that we need someone to scoop them out to feel them. Flip it and you see that author has actually taken out these scoops from her own life. And has presented them to us. Like a mirror though these stories will remind you of some pieces of your life that you may have ignored.
There are stories from everyday life like the pain of a domestic staff, of strained relationships between parents and children, of changing the attitude of people. The story about the dog took me straight to the Facebook posts where people post obituaries to their dogs.
Some stories are inspired by the aftermath of natural disasters like Tsunami or a personal tragedy.
I liked the story of two friends when they meet after 25 years. The story will take you to the best friend you lost to time or distance. Friends you hope to bump into at airport or in a shopping mall, friends with whom to share your most intense secrets.
Another interesting story was about a person who decides to quit his job to be with his family. Only to realize that the family does not need his time. Set in a span of 3-4 hours, I think this story deserved a bit more time, though the idea is definitely worth exploring especially in the age where everyone is out there to glorify
Lucknow makes a repeat appearance in various stories, followed by Delhi. However, I missed the description of these cities. The stories could have been based anywhere – the flavor of the place was missing. Though, in the case of Delhi, Shilpi Chaklanobis has captured it well here and there. Having said that, most stories are sharp and like I said scooped out, with no space for any embellishments. It is probably how the quick reads of future would be when the stories send the message without going around it too much. To the point and precise. Sometimes I enjoy reading clutter-free narratives.
Language is extremely simple with no ambiguities whatsoever. Editing is bad – but then these days reading a book without few errors is an exception.
A good debut attempt by Shilpi Chaklanobis.