We are all lost into the game of life thinking that we have the control, acting like a fool of somebody and sometimes of our own destiny which plays with us throughout our lives. We are so lost, unable to see the skylines, the outline or the summary of situation we are going through. In the book of fourteen short stories named Skylines, author Neelam Saxena Chandra tries to present the colors of women’s life, the troubles they walk through, the pain they swallow at every point in their lives, the benevolence with which they forgive the wrongdoer and move on peacefully. Where every story in the end makes you look at the bigger picture, the skyline. And after you’re able to see the skyline you be wise.
The backdrop: The stories are based on women’s lives. All of the stories have the backdrop set in India. So you would find Indian traditions, culture, social obligations woven in the stories. A few of the stories talks about the women in their married lives, a few others are about little girls learning amidst adversities.
Who would like reading: The book would be liked by anyone who wishes for light reading during a journey or in the spare hours. There’s nothing you need to make deductions for. The book is simple. Since, most of the stories are based on love relations, in my opinion; it would interest the teenagers more than other age groups.
The best one I found: ‘Lessons in Prudence’ is a story of Neha who everyday witnesses her father thrashing her mother. Where her father represents the chauvinist male of India who thinks that his wife cannot have an individual opinion, he can punish her for her mistakes and girls should not be educated. In the story, I found the character of Neha’s mother very powerful, just like a common Indian mother who bears raining cruelty on her just for the sake of her child’s future. Neha’s mother could see the skylines and thus, she made decisions wisely keeping in mind the outcomes which she would face in the long run.
What you may not like: If you love serious reading experiences then this book is not for you. The book is written in a very simple way. The stories are plain and simple with no hidden meanings or mysteries of life which could be dug down while reading. You might feel that the stories get monotonous after sometime when you realize that most of the stories are about love relations.
What you would like: The stories speak of the Indian society. I could connect with a many of them. The language is very simple. The book isn’t at all bulky so one could easily finish it reading within a few days. I also appreciate the effort put to glorify the common Indian women by portraying their lives and difficulties and how they overcome these.
About the author: Neelam Saxena Chandra is an engineer by profession and works with Indian Railways. Neelam has been awarded for her works by Gulzarji in a Poetry Contest organized by American Society, by Children Book Trust in 2009, and by Ministry of Railways (Premchand Puraskar). She has also received the Rabindranath Tagore International award for poetry. (source: Cover of the book). If you wish to read more about Neelam, you may find her on Wikipedia.