It Rained on a Moonlit Night, a collection of short stories by J. George Pottenkulam, connects with readers at a personal level as the author brings in elements from our inner worlds, as well as the outer.
Pottenkulam tries to leave a message of sorts, a moral if you will, in almost every story. While it is outright clear in some stories, it is subtly present in the others. The stories are quite engaging and hard to put down once you begin reading. Some of them, however, seem unevenly paced, especially while recounting an incident or describing a past experience to create a set-up for further progress.
The book holds together many interesting tales—each with its individuality, while also maintaining a certain sense of consistency. While these stories are fictional, they manifest a sense of reality, taking on either issues that we face together as a community or as individuals. From debating the necessity of a president and all the pomp involved in visits they might make, to the ever-present debate on gender equality, the author finely treads on both sides of every argument, whilst his biases are somewhat visible.
There are also stories on love, humour, friendship, and courage and they describe to the reader, how one does not need to scour the whole world to find inspiration, but it can be found sometimes in the daily lives of people. From playing pranks on long-time friends to a rat aristocracy of sorts that tries to solve a cat problem and from finding love to losing it or maybe just the spark of lust, these stories are all based on human nature and how we behave, which the author recreates pretty accurately. Pottenkulam also does not shy away from discussing so-called heavy topics, like the state of the world and the true way to serve God.
It Rained on a Moonlit Night, the story from which the book gets its title, is one of the most interesting ones in the collection. Easily the longest story in the book, it deals with the relationships one has, not just family but with society too. The beautifully crafted story is filled with surprises that keep you intrigued till the end. Though at one point, the twists seem a tad bit overwhelming, especially for a short story. This brings us to the pacing of the book. In order to create a plausible situation while giving depth to characters, the author tends to portion his stories unevenly, tending to rush certain parts, especially while setting a situation, but then drags through certain other areas, like while trying to share an anecdote or a back story.
The characters are relatable and diverse. Though the author portrays people from various walks of life, the influence of the author's culture and background shines through, giving it an authentic touch as Pottenkulam connects the stories to his hometown and lived experiences. The book is an interesting read and a quick one at that, which might also lead you to question different aspects of your life while reminiscing about it.
Book: It Rained on a Moonlit Night
Author: J. George Pottenkulam
Publisher: Portrait India
Price: Rs 345/-