Satyajit Ray was a polymath but as a story writer, his short stories were ahead of their time. Many of us grew up with his anthologies Ek Dozon Gappo, Aaro Ek Dozon, Aaro Baro, Ebaro Baro, Bah! Baro, Eker Pithe Dui, Jobor Baro. These books were treasure troves- gave us exposure to many trivia and new dimensions. I would like to discuss a few of the short stories that gave us the head-start with many unknowns – let me help you to take a holy dip into the fascinating world of short stories by Satyajit Ray.
Doppelganger Effect: If you have not read Ratan babu aar sei lokta, then you should do it right away to perceive how the maestro placed the whole story and made it a thrilling read for the youngsters without crossing the boundary of his simplistic styles of story-telling. This is more of a psychological horror genre and he tackled with superlative finesse. The thrilling end of the story will keep haunting your mind as an after-effect.
Metamorphosis: It was an area that was very close to the heart of Satyajit Ray, otherwise, there was no reason that could compel him to write three amazing short stories on the same subject. “Khogom”, “Neel Atonko” and “Mriganka Babur Ghotona” can take you into an amazing world of metamorphosis. Three stories with the same thematic nature but with different characters and contexts let the reader enjoy the crafty story-telling. The nerve-wracking and blood-chilling night in Khogom sends shivers down the spines of any intrepid adult. One of the best horror stories and i
A story within a story : There can be only a few examples in Bengali literature, where a story was told within a story and we saw the introduction of the avuncular character “Tarini khuro” and Ray placed and nurtured the character of Tarinikhuro to deliver a story within a larger or broader story. Humour : Ray's style of humour was as unique as the subject or topic that he selected and the degree of humour was always subtle. There are many idiosyncratic characters in many of his stories like Barin Bhowmik er byaram, Sadhan Babu r sandeho, Ganesh Mutsuddi r portrait, and so on. You will also realise how a small incident in our life can lead to sudden disruption and finally will take a turn to hilarious aftermath and you will agree with me to a tee if you read ‘Load Shedding’, ‘Pterodactyl-er Dim, Bhokto, Manpotro. You will appreciate the strength of observations that can evoke quality humour. Satyajit Ray leveraged mental health (Kleptomania, paranoia, intrepidity, loneliness), consumerism, inequality, success, failures, denials, deprivations, ambitions, and aspiration as theme of many of his short stories. What struck the poignant chords was - his ability to place and fit them into
the Indian setting and his every story leaves you enveloped in a different world. His signa
ture crispiness and simplicity coupled with brevity never failed to deliver a delightful experience to the readers,
P.S: The classifications are not exhaustive,the stories' name may not be comprehensive. This is a small attempt to categorize a few of the short stories. The opinions expressed here are my personal opinion.