It isn’t often that one comes across a book that picks up the mundane things of life and treats them with a depth that is surprising. However, author Renée Ranchan’s latest book does just that. Titled To Each With Love, the work is a collection of six short stories — of which some are long, that revolve around North India and have undercurrents of a satirical tone.
“The stories have their satirical moments, but there is also humour and varied emotions and feelings that find their place in the stories. When I was writing it, there was no defined direction or methodology that I followed. These are just things that I see or experience that have found their way in my works,” says Ranchan.
Her crisp portrayal of the daughter-in-law Vimla Jain and her family wishing for a son, the awkward Chander who turns street-savvy, a school teacher Lulla who is facing the demons of singledom, and a Kashmiri woman ruing her youthful days – Ranchan’s book gives place to all characters that one will come across in their routine lives.
Of her portrayal of the country and the characters, the author says, “India is a constantly changing country. It has become a schizophrenic nation in many ways. On one hand, we have restaurants introducing navratra thalis and then there is another side where technology is the pied-piper in the country – children are busy in their phones and don’t care about anything. These things linger with you and make you wonder.”
Ask her if the stories deliver a message and Ranchan replies, “There’s no such message but a few points do come across through my work. Truth should be taken with a grain as opposed to a pinch of salt. There has to be acceptance of everything and everyone, even if it’s resigned. Surrender – you just throw up your hands and go on with the business of living. And that there is a new lesson to be learnt every day.” The title, she adds, finds inspiration from these points. “To Each With Love - that is the message; you surrender, accept, resign and to each with love you go on.”
Ranchan has also authored a collection of poems — Untwined The Wind in the past, and says that writing a book and poems involve very different processes. “Poetry is about immediacy of expression which makes it precise and succinct. However, writing a story is completely different, the story comes to the author over time. The writer never knows where the plot will go or how a character might become unrecognisable,” she finishes.