A collection of five short stories and a novella by three-time Maharashtra State Award winner for literature, Of Closures and New Beginnings explores the struggles of the modern urban Indian woman to assert her individuality amidst societal pressures and expectations. The stories address her predicament as she makes choices—of career versus family life, of freedom versus bonds that tie her down, of relationships that are nameless, yet important to her. Saniya’s characters—sharply etched, honest and startlingly real—compel you to ponder their decisions in their quest to find themselves.
The novella, Awartan (1996), one of Saniya’s most intense works, explores a relationship which, for the conservative Indian society of the 1990s, was daring and uncommon. Seen through the eyes of a young introvert woman, it closely examines family ties, human relationships, and the untimely death of a loved one. Her journey of coming to terms with her loss, and understanding the meaning of love, through conflicting emotions, introspection and distance, is depicted with a rare empathy, sensitivity and poignancy.
Translated flawlessly by Keerti Ramachandra, who captures the writer’s voice and style intuitively, each narrative in this volume offers valuable insights into real-life situations that most of us can relate to, and memorable characters who remain with you long after the story ends. Saniya’s writing, her idiom and her sensibility are contemporary, her themes universal, and will resonate powerfully with all readers of Indian fiction.
Saniya is an award-winning, leading contemporary Marathi writer, with a large body of woman-centric writings. Her work includes the novels Sthalantar (1994), Awartan (1996) and Avakash (2001), and the short story collections Tyanantar (2002), Omiyage (2005), Bhumika (2010) and Punha Ekada (2015).
Keerti Ramachandra, an accomplished editor and translator, has worked for various publishing houses including Katha, Penguin and Sahitya Akademi. She has translated short stories from Kannada, Hindi and Marathi for various journals and anthologies, including Katha Prize Stories, and a Marathi novel by Vishwas Patil, A Dirge for the Damned (2014).
Maya Pandit, a poet, translator, academic and activist involved with the Indian women’s movement and alternative theatre movement in Maharashtra for the last three decades, is a professor at the English and Foreign Languages University, Hyderabad.
Saniya: An Introduction
Some Questions, Some Answers
Keerti Ramachandra in conversation with Saniya