In 1943, in the midst of a raging world war, Rasipuram Krishnaswami Iyer Narayanaswami published his now beloved collection of short stories – ‘Malgudi Days’. The collection of 19 short stories set in the fictional town of Malgudi painted an idyllic picture of our society under the British Raj. To us, today, it paints a vivid image of a begone era.
A lot has changed since then. In the seven decades since India’s independence, the world saw the birth of a new country, its struggle through infancy and then, its growth to maturity. In these decades of long transformation, there is as much to be proud of as to resent. The spirit of community, brotherhood and unadulterated patriotism that characterised our founding fathers, have, slowly but alarmingly, given way to a volatile blend of cynicism, distrust and dogmatism. And that is what this book portrays.
Pranava Tripathi’s 15 Chameleons attempts the same to our contemporary society as ‘Malgudi Days’ did to our society then under the Raj. The stories in this collection are as much a satirical caricature of our everyday life as a blunt warning that a climate of decay has silently set in. They are presented in a stark, unembellished style, devoid of pretensions. They are meant to shock, sicken and disturb. They are meant to wake us up to think what has changed. And most importantly, it is a call for action to our collective conscience to rethink our values, attitudes, prejudices and priorities. This is about the real ‘us’.
I hope this book provokes you as much as it has provoked me to think. I hope it prompts you to bring about the change necessary to make bigger changes, the need of the hour in today’s society.
Chief Editor, yourstoryclub.com