If I ever write a book, I would love my book to be like “Taxi Wallah and Other Stories” by Numair Atif Choudhury: A short and crisp one with ordinary stories making readers uncomfortable and reflect.
Set in Bangladesh, Taxi Wallah and other stories is a collection of short stories. These are about what we see every day but are majorly based on the differences in society and how we overlook them. The stories are not polished or with elegant characters. These are about the people that most of us know exist, but we do not count them. These protagonists are striving with their internal struggles. They are trying to survive in a society that is just too inattentive of their existence.
In “Taxi Wallah”, we see a Taxi Driver telling us about his life in general and an account with one of his passengers. His narrative tells about his familiarity with the city and his customer behaviour.
“Rabia” is about a house help who is devoted to Aapa, and how their relationship changes with time.
Shahid talks of how his career as a brick-breaker is indirectly proportional to his age in the story “Crumble”.
I am not sure what "The Truth" wanted to convey, but I loved reading it.
Told through the villager's point of view, “Different Eyes” hits you hard with the darkest truth that will make you uncomfortable but you will also nod with the truth it exposes.
“Black” is told from the prisoner’s perspective. The last lines of this story just blew my mind.
“Chokra” highlights the concept of luxury and what it means to different people.
"Thief" will make you think about To give or not to give up?
"Asking Why" will make you question why you help someone.
"On the way" is the only mysterious story in this collection.
“Sense” is one of the cleverest short stories I have read, with statements that will make you feel envious of Numair’s writing style.
Numair's writing is very intentional and sharp. I do not think I will forget these stories, at least not any soon. I am not sure with what aim Choudhury wrote these stories, but it is clear that one of his intentions was to show his readers a clear image of the world.
Must read. I definitely recommend.
If I have to summarise my understanding of this book, I would love to do that in Numair's words itself :
"Everybody wants a victim today. Someone to release their inner demons on. It is difficult to care who or where you hit"