Find that majestic mango, your problem will be solved—a mystic ordered an individual who asked for help.
My ax is my guru—declared a woodcutter.
Instead of preparing a plan to kill it, why can’t we offer help? —a villager questioned in the middle of the assembly.
I could not be relieved even after undertaking efforts to end my life—a scholar declared in public.
Can you be my mother?—a boy requested of a pretentious lady.
I wish I had more life to undo my past—a mischief-maker contemplated in his letter.
I would never relinquish them, even if I had to sacrifice my life—a young prince swore putting his life on the shore.
I was chained by limitations, yet I prevailed—a butcher made a victorious cry.
You climbed up the ladder. I did not. Who reached the top?—a brother questioned his sibling who cried for help.
Walks Through Life is a collection of stories in which each story reverberates the same principle of truth in its own unique ways. These are stories serving as plain reminders of the supreme learning that was handed over to us a long time ago.
Stories of lively and realistic characters
Santhosh K. Komarraju’s “Walks Through Life Stories” is an introduction to the author’s craft and skill to draw a reader’s attention to issues of varying nature. His stories have their respective moral lessons but at the same time also remind the reader of earlier written literary texts or folk tales or bedtime stories he/she may have heard as a child.
The author clearly claims the influence of Hindu mythology on his stories in his ‘Note from the author’. This is visible by the presence of Indian settings of farms (in the story “A Gold Message”), kingdoms (in “The hidden Kingship”, “Divine Axe” and “King of All”), religion ( in “Two misjudgments”) and family ties ( in “A letter from the Well” , “Rise of Motherhood”, “Two misjudgments”, ”King of all” and “A gold message”).
The readers are more or less familiar with the mythological moral lessons but the author brings in some twist and turn to make the reader appreciate the stories by holding on to their interest. There is the presence of humans, beasts, animals, monsters which makes stories fall in the category of children’s literature. But two stories “Blessing of a Curse” and “Rise of Motherhood” deal with the critical and serious issue of prostitution which highlights the status of women in the society. The clear message is that society pushed those women into the hell of flesh trade so society should act as the liberator too (in ‘Blessing of a curse”). The other fact highlighted in “Rise of Motherhood” is that the maternal instinct in a woman shows up as the situation calls for it. This makes the collection important at the social front also and for adults too.
The language is simple and easy to understand although, at times, the plot seems a bit extended due to the detailing. Almost all the characters the author creates seems lively and realistic. They stand out with their own characteristics and traits. But at times, they are projected as too ideal to be found in the real world. For instance, the prince in “King of all” is ready to give the crown to his younger brother even after he was announced as the future king.
The setting in a kingdom in “Divine Axe” reminds or Pearl S. Buck’s story “The Enemy” but while that is more into the world war scenario, this story somewhere reminds of Shakespeare’s forest of Arden. A bit similar is the case with “The Hidden Kingship” although here Marlowe’s Doctor Faustus can be reminisced. Perhaps the most Indian story (keeping in mind the current scenario) is “Two misjudgments”. Here the reader finds religion and its importance at the forefront but the message is clearly given of religion being not just about worshipping God but also following humanitarian principles. The other important dominant theme found in “The Hidden Kingship”, “Divine Axe”, “A Letter from the Well”, and “King of All” is that hard work never goes unrewarded. Other themes include true repentance leads to salvation and goodness in a human being can be awakened by the right counsel, guidance and patience(in “A letter from the Well”), man’s living in harmony with nature and animals (in “Beyond the bar of humanity”). This also reminds the reader of Rudyard Kipling’s “The Jungle Book”.
Overall, the story collection can both be read and also narrated to adults and children making the appeal of the work universal.