In this collection, Abbas brings forth through his stories his rich background in journalism and film-making. The stories here embrace varied themes and contexts, with protagonists from cities and villages. Abbas manages to capture the dilemmas of all his characters, be it a has been Nawab, a nurse or an untouchable in a village. He addresses themes of superstition, caste and romance, each in his own unique and rich style of writing.
He writes with equal felicity of a modest young proofreader in Mumbai vying for the attention of a European girl (‘The Umbrella’) and Chanda, an outcaste, old woman in a village (‘Sword of Shiva’). Often satirical and hard-hitting, the stories give the reader a glimpse into Abbas’s social conscience and perhaps his commitment to progressive causes. This special edition comes with a PS section that has interviews with the author, a letter from Mulk Raj Anand, and other information that makes it a must-buy for connoisseurs of early Indian writing in English.