What has an electrical engineer to do with literature? Not much one would say. But, that exactly is what Neelam Saxena Chandra has been doing. Her passion for creative writing is exemplary. She writes both in Hindi and English with equal poise. Chandra has written children’s stories, poetry, fiction and everything in between.
An officer of the Indian Railway Service of Electrical Engineers, Neelam has done quite a bit of literary writing in her literary career spanning over a quarter century. Four novels, one novella, five short story collections, twenty-nine poetry collections and a dozen children’s books. The list is only growing.
She is a record holder with the Limca Book of Records for having the highest number of publications in 2015.In 2014, she was in the ‘’Forbes’’ list of seventy-eight most popular Indian authors. She has received several awards – Rabindranath Tagore International Poetry Award from Xpress Publications being one.
With such accomplishments, her longing for literature certainly goes beyond the ordinary. What is noteworthy is that her oeuvre extends to all sections of literature with identical fineness.
‘Tales from Venus’ is a short story collection but with a rider. All the twenty odd stories have been written around Indian women. With a foreword by Ashok Sajjanhar, himself a writer and career diplomat, the stories in this collection are set in Indian family life. The two dozen odd tales are pretty engaging, not because they are written from a feminist perspective, but for their positive approach. Robust optimism is what the characters in her stories display.
As Neelam herself says, Indian women have to pass through various vicissitudes of life, and for them living is another name of hackneyed existence.Justifiably, many of the stories in the anthology depicts some kind of tribulation Indian women face in their daily life .While some stories have hilarity in them, some are purely contemplative in nature.
Characters in the stories are drawn from ordinary situations and that makes the reader acquaint himself of the realities of middle class life. Lucidly written and with a knock-on effect, the stories have elements of emotion, courage and pettiness.
When an interviewer asked her sometime back being a woman of substance, what is her philosophy of life, her reply was: I don’t plan too much since things never follow a straight line pattern, they are mostly curvilinear. I live in the present and enjoy every moment as if there is no tomorrow. The present volume of short stories follows that archetype rather conscientiously.
Tales from Venus
Author: Neelam Saxena Chandra
LiFi Publications Pvt Ltd
12, Rajendra Place
Price Rs 200