Saturday, March 2, 2013

Satyajit Ray's Indigo Stories

Visiting library has many great benefits. One can come across variety of books, old ones, rare editions, precious and valuable books, new arrivals, etc. I do visit my district's central library often. It has a very big reference section with numerous very useful books. Once while glancing through the English Literature section, I came across this book Indigo Stories. It is a collection of Bengali short stories written by the famous Indian cinema director Satyajit Ray. 

Two reasons why I chose to read this book. First, the name Satyajit Ray drew me towards the book that I instantly took it from the shelf. I have known the great man only as a filmmaker but never knew that he has published stories too. In fact, most directors are writers themselves. Aren’t they? Next thing, it’s a collection of short stories. I prefer to read short stories rather than hundreds of pages of novels with only one story.

‘Indigo Stories’ has horror, fantasy, adventure, magic and supernatural stories. They were translated into English by Gopa Majumdar and some of them were translated by Ray himself. All of them look seemingly very simple and average. Yet  they hold the attention of the readers with a humorous narration, suspenseful plot and fantasy elements, like other similar works of Ray. 

The characters in the stories, their lives and the places are very ordinary, yet they land in unimaginable and extraordinary circumstances. In the segment The Scarecrow, a writer gets stranded near a paddy field on his way to the city and encounters the scarecrow in the field that becomes alive. In I am Ghost, a ghost occupying an abandoned burnt bungalow tells about its past life and how it is to be a ghost. In The Case of Mrigaonko Babu, the protagonist feels that he has not evolved as a complete human being. Another one Patel Babu - Film Star tells the story of an artist who strives for excellence and perfection rather than fame and wealth. In the titular Indigo, a traveler who takes shelter for one night in an old lonely bungalow encounters bizarrely the events happened over a century before. Likewise, each and every tale has its own charm and elegance. A few characters became unforgettable once I finish reading them. In one way or other, we can connect them with the events in our own life to some extent.

Satyajit Ray - pioneer of Indian cinema
Ray was quite imaginative, a quality that is a mandate for a creator. He has had an endless fascination towards supernatural and ghost fantasies. That’s how most of the tales turn out to be of such genre. Through the stories, Ray presents us with the beautiful, aesthetic valued Bengal of 1950s, its people, lifestyle, the environment and surroundings. In addition to this,

Above all, the most inviting aspect I find in this book is that they are very crisp and clear. No story lasts for more than 10 pages, no unwanted contents. Very apt for slow readers and lazy people like me! No problem in losing the continuity. 

Simply speaking, Indigo Stories is a treat and treasure to the voracious readers especially those who are very much fond of short and fictional stories. 

Happy reading...


  1. Hi Shareef,

    Satyajit Ray is my favourite author of all times. You may not have heard about him because he wrote in bengali. But now all his books are available in different languages. If you like detective stories, read the Feluda Collection - translated to english by Gopa Majumdar. Ofcourse much of its charm is lost in translation, but still its interesting in a way that captures hearts of all ages.

    DDS @ b00k r3vi3ws

    1. Hello Deb,

      Yes thats the first time I read a book of Ray, and browsed for his other works.. Some of them are available for sale online. Will purchase them in future.. Thanks for the info..