Headline May 15, 2017/ ''' *WORLD HONOURING WOMEN* '''


AS A WOMAN GROWING UP in Southeast Asia, it's very common to be under the spotlight of society's unblinking eye.

Yet determined women have gone against the grain for the better and stood out to do extraordinary things. Those who didn't change society as a whole-

Or create movements of progress, at least felt the current shift within themselves. 

It is these women, unwavering yet able to move with the winds of change,   that make up the first  three stories  in Twinkle Khanna's collection of short stories. The Legend of Lakshmi Prasad.

These are stories of women who have been driven to take matters into their own hands despite their families  -or even because of them.

*The Legend of Lakshmi Prasad*  ''Salam Noni Appa', and  ''If the Weather Permits' follow three very distinct women as they realise their destinies have always been in their own very hands. 

Lakshmi Prasad is a village girl with an ingenious idea. 

When her married sister is sent back to her parents' home with marks of abuse at the hands of her in-laws, Lakshmi knows things must change, not only for newborn niece, but also for the other girls in her village.

Because of her efforts where most villagers decry the birth of a girl, Lakshmi now celebrates it with a fervour.

The protagonist of   'Salam, Noni Appa'    takes us a world away, to a bustling seaside city where  Nomi Appa and her sister Binni are living out their widowhood in each other's company, playing solitaire and drinking the occasional whiskey.

Binni hires a yoga teacher to come to her home and teach them the ancient art, but follows the yogi into their home is something that neither sister expected. 

'Salaam, Noni Appa' is a tale of sisterly love and and winning companionship when you need it most and expect it least.

'If the Weather Permits' is the penultimate story that caps off the book's female protagonists with Elisa, a free-spirited woman who is tied down by her parents though life has other plans.

'The Sanitary Man from the Sacred Land' follows the same narrative thread but with a male protagonist, Bablu Kewat. this tale makes up the bulk of The Legend of Lakshmi Prasad and with good reason. 

It is a fictionalised version of the true story of   Padma  Shr-avardee   Arunchalam Murugananthum -a man famous for inventing low-cost sanyary napkins for women to poor backgrounds.-

Giving those same women jobs to manufacture the napkins, and creating awareness of feminine hygiene. The story made headlines around the world and, after Khanna's fictionalisation of the events, Bollywood actor Akshay Kumar  [Khanna's husband] is set to play the PadMan on screen.

Khanna's version is highly romanticised with all the twists and turns of a good Bollywood flick, befitting her writing style.

Despite the varied backgrounds, cultures, and turmoils of the heroines and hero present in The Legend of Lakshmi Prasad, a common theme of resilience ties the short stories and their lead characters together-

Bringing forth a book that truly has something for everyone with the added bonus of some very endearing characters.

Morsels of wisdom woven throughout the narrative give just enough pause to reflect over the unfolding story without patronising the reader. sagacity offers itself as a realisation to the protagonists, while also guiding the characters to reach and fulfill their desires, so we root for them from page to page and story to story.

The book's clever wit makes it stand out amongst the sea of serious South Asian writers, and shows that a lesson taught through a laugh has more impact than the  one  that is delivered sternly.  Khanna delivers her lesson loud and clear.

*The Legend of Lakshmi Prasad*   is the writer's second book. Her first, Mrs Funnybones, was a best seller that out her on the map as one to watch literary scene. 

Having developed her unique voice, Khanna now writes regular columns for The Times of India and the Daily News & Analysis.

A former actress, interior designer, film producer and Bollywood wife, Khanna writes with grace and wisdom; the sharp wit and clever anecdotes peppering this anthology can be likened to Bapsi Sidhwa.

Khanna has a strong clear voice, and even when she adds characters or scenes for a quick quip, the story never loses its pace. She deftly trapezes from one story to the next, making it entertainingly perfect for a weekend or beach read.

Embedded in the banter of  Binni  and Noni Appa, within the branching thoughts of Lakshmi, encased in Elsa's thoughts or even in Bablu's workshop, are reflections  we've all had at one point-

Or the other, in the multicultural societies where we live as  *Daughters of the East*.

The empathy that Khanna shares with her readers through her characters showcases a mature writer and skilled storyteller.

With most loving and  respectful dedication to  *All Women of the World*, Mothers, Daughters, Sisters, Wives,   Students, Professors and  Teachers of the World, too. 

See Ya all on !WOW!   -the World Students Society and Twitter-!E-WOW!  -the Ecosystem 2011:

''' Modern Mystery '''

Good Night and God Bless

SAM Daily Times - the Voice of the Voiceless


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