20 Short stories by Satyajit Ray

”20 stories’ by Satyajit Ray. Yes! The one whom most of the people know as a master director…..the one who made timeless classics like ‘Pather Panchali’, ‘Apur Sansar’ and a lot more. Though Ray’s proficiency as a writer is not known, he is one of the outstanding story tellers. He is not so popular as others. May be because he wrote mostly in Bengali.
My first exposure to Ray’s writing happened when I was 10. The Book was a Telugu translated one called ‘Phatik Chand’. The Book left such an indelible impression on my innocent mind that I began looking for Bengali Authors, whenever I went to book-fairs! I read it more than 10 times in these 10 years with the same vigour with which I read for the first time! In a way that Book prompted me to read ‘Pather Panchali’ (not by Ray, but made in to a film by Ray) as I wanted to know Ray. After a long wait of 10 years, I am reading a Ray book again!!!! A long wait indeed. What do u say?
Ok, ok, I am coming to the point. The Book :The Book is a collection of 20 stories of Ray translated by Gopa Majumdar. I would like to classify the stories present in it in to 3 types; the first and what took a major part of this was – supernatural, next comes humorous and the next one is – general.First – as he is known for supernatural stories, we can feel a typical Ray mark in them. If you have at any time read any of his works, for example the famous Feluda Stories, these stories send chills in to our spine. One gets the same feeling that we get after reading the last page of ‘The Time Machine,.Remember ‘Darna Mana Hai’, by Praval Raman? These stories have that flavour in them, rather the movie has the flavour of these stories (obviously because these stories are older). Some of them just sound wierd like- ‘The Maths Teacher, Mr. Pink and Tipu’, ‘The Tale of Shibu and the Monster’ and ‘The Vicious Vampire’. Some of them terrify you, if you are absorbed in them like – ‘Bhuto’,’Fritz’,’Anath Babu’s Terror’ and ‘Mr. Brown’s Cottage’. Ofcourse, there is a routine horror one like ‘Gagan Chowdary’s Studio’.
Ray has an excellent style that imbues a feeling of shock, of horror of some weird feeling in us by the time we reach the end of the story.The next categeory – Humour. These stories portray certain human emotions which elicit laughter. We find certain eccentric characters in our day to day life. These stories highlight those characters. Certain idiosyncrasies that form part of people’s mentality are heroes in these stories. ‘Sadhan Babu’s Suspicions’, ‘Chameleon’, ‘Barin Bhowmik’s Ailment’ are some of them. Especially, you can’t hide atleast a short gilmpse of your smile as you read the last line of the ‘Barin Bhowik’s Ailment’. ‘Chameleon’ is a special kind of story. It generates laughter, but at the same time, it chills and may even shock the reader.
The other stories ‘Guest’, ‘Pterodacytl’s Egg’, ‘Load Shedding’, ‘Admirer’ are a description of specific events in a part of life. They describe the changes some events may cause in the day to day events. ‘The Millionaire’ slightly resembles ‘Christmas Carol’. ‘Anukul’ is a readable story. ‘Citation’, ‘Spotlight’ are bound to make you feel suprised in the end.
On the whole, the Book is interesting and makes a good reading. One distinguishing quality of Ray (or in my view Bengalis) is that they take you to live in the surroundings and the tempo of the theme. I guess, Ray was successful in doing that. Who can forget the efforts of Gopa Majumdar? Translation is never an easy task. It was a great job, translating without the stories losing their native flavour.

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Published in: on July 16, 2006 at 3:50 am  Comments (35)  

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  1. [...] Actually, I liked Apu very much for his zeal to know. Apu came across to me as an interesting character. I was identifying myself with Apu and his Mom at the same time  and Apu and his son later. This might sound a bit wierd, but this is a fact, which can only be felt….rather, I am not so versatile enough to pen it and make u all understand how it feels. Due to several reasons, this 500 page novel took me a longer time to read. But, whenever I took it on hand, I never left it unless under compulsion. It is that gripping. It is not a suspense-thriller. Still, it is so well written that it became unputdownable for me. There is actually a lot to be written about this book, but, i decide to stop here coz, it appears to me an ocean. One of the best books I have read in Indian literature….. it appears as if I liked this even better than Pather Panchali !!! I was in the dreams of PatherPanchali even several days after reading it at that time. It looks as if that is going to happen with Aparajito too This was translated by Gopa Majumdar. Thought I heard the name somewhere. On a bit of brain-exercise, i remembered. She translated “20 short stories” by Satyajit, about which I wrote loooong back some 3 years ago … but, posted in this blog in July. It can be viewed here. Published in: [...]

  2. Its a lil odd n funny though taken up very seriously. The curiosity took us when Preity(friend) and i read, Ray’s Short story Mr Brown’s cottage!! Believe it or not, yet we haven’t skipped a single google page to know more bout the cottage/place where the plot of story(MR BROWN’S HOUSE) was set. All we need to know is that, does any such place exist,,, ad if yes, we’d be fortunately grateful to you, if intimated bout it. Would be a matter of interest coz, we stay at FRAZER TOWN,BANGALORE. Waiting for your kind response!! Cheers

  3. @Komal:
    Thats an interesting activity… I don’t know myself… but..i am too curious to know if such a place exist… do leave a comment here if u find any result…

  4. Hello Sowmya,

    A first-timer here. Actally came here looking for details on the book Chokher Bhali. Once I saw the Satyajit Ray in the sidebar, I was hooked.

    I am a telugu girl married to a bengali and thus started the platonic relationship with Ray ;)
    especially Feluda. I was pleasantly surprised to know that you heard of Ray a long time ago.

    If you havent already, get the two volumes on Feluda – The Complete Adventures of Feluda – part 1 and 2, translated by Gopa Majumdar again.

    i also read the short stories and echo similar opinion as you. if you know of any more Ray literature, do drop me a line at my blog.

  5. [...] వాటిని చదవాలనే ఉత్సుకత కలుగుతుంది. బెస్ట్ ఆఫ్ సత్యజిత్ రాయ్ అనే పుస్తకం [...]

  6. Hi Soumya,

    I came to this post through the review of ur blog in computer era mag.

    Infact I wanted to write the review on this book, and thank God, u already done it in excellent way, better than me. Few more additions, anyway..

    1. Some of the stories in this book have been translated in telugu and published in vipula monthly magazine. “Bhuto” is one among such.

    2. These stories are written for the magazine “Sandesh” (which is the name of a bengali sweet), which was Ray’s own baby.

    3. Two more books I suggest. 1. Indigo 2. Stranger. The latter one has stories which are existing in “Best of Ray”.

    Finally kudos for all the write ups..

  7. You should also read Feluda sometime then.. I watched only two of his movies..Pather Panchali and Gopi Gayen Bagha Bayen..watched Sonar Kella only halfway as my idiot bengali friend would doze off and not translate :(
    I ask many of my bong friends to get me his entire collection with sub titles but they wouldn’t.

    <> I concur!

    I have two solutions as of now..learn Bengali or marry a bong girl??? :O

  8. ” I concur” was regarding your view on the way Bengalis take you into their surroundings

  9. i just luv satyajit ray’s storiez…
    dey r awesum

  10. hey somya.
    i havent read wot its bout…
    but just commmentin 4 fun….hehee

  11. A brillinat writer!
    I’m admired on his works.The best was ‘Bonku Babu’s Friend’.

  12. I have read satyajits short stories. Inspired by tagore he is truly genius.

  13. i have read a lot of these stories which is really full of suspence.

  14. thanks to do this . now ican read rays storys.

  15. i love satyajit ray’s books
    and i have read all of them………..

  16. FELUDA is the best…………….he is AWESOME………………..i love his ROYAL BENGAL MYSTERY

  17. what a great syory you have written, satyajit sir

  18. I think the stories fo Satyajeet Ray comprises of categories of people who we get to interact in day to day life. He potrayed the life on simple people in his own way .

    Ameet

  19. Hi,

    One of my friends in Kuwait loves his books and wanted me to buy them. I am visiting Hyderabad next week and want to buy Ray’s books to take with me to Kuwait for my friend. Can anyone let me know where I can buy them in Hyderabad (English translation please).

    Thanks in advance for the response.

    Regards,

    Srikanth

    • You can buy online from Flipkart or some such site.

  20. one of the most natural and god gifted talent coming together in the splendid bengal brained veteran writer and author RAY stories ……and the rest is history

  21. Soumya,how i’l get a copy of ’20 Short Stories’ ? i’m@ thiruvananthapuram

  22. hi……. soumya what is the way by which i can get stories of satyajit ray for my english holiday home work ? please tell me.

    • Mr. Satyajit Ray’s
      Writtings are
      yet to be issued
      to
      Central Library as
      Policy Matter,
      however,
      the authored
      printed material
      are available on
      renowned
      Book Marts.
      Regards!
      .._

  23. frm whr i cn get /????????? plz tel me

  24. U r done a wndrfull job,these days we r too busy with wid our tch thng.slwly frgeting da owm thngs.ray was a great ambssdr of bnglis,we should prould of him

  25. i a like mr.cottages story much

  26. thanks to this great personality Mr.satyajit ray who thoughtthis nice story i not able to understand how these personality can think these kind of.i really thank him

  27. This Detail do not have anything much to consider. very poor!

  28. Hi,
    This is Shourjya. I really love Satyajit Ray’s stories, HIS movies, HIS way of thinking and everything else. I still love his musics.
    Even after watching almost all of his movies like more than 5 times, I still sit down in front the TV whenever there is a Ray’s movie coming up on TV.

    Most of you would have really enjoyed the juice of HIS works if you atleast understood bengali. But since this is not possible you can go and buy HIS books[translated in English], though i dont know exactly which publication would be the best ones. Many are available at online stores. I have recently seen some being sold in flipkart.com .
    You can give it a shot.

    People who understand Bengali but cannot read them, can as well go for Sunday Suspense Audio Books where the famous Bengali RJ Mir and others have narrated Satyajit Ray’s short Suspense stories[well most of them are Ray's stories only]. And they have done a brilliant job out there.

    And the above blog is fantastic. Keep up the good job.

  29. Satyajit Ray has created immortal characters, from Feluda to Bhuto!!! He has taken Bengali literature to a new level, a global era!!! I am an avid Ray reader and i would suggest that people explore Ray’s work.

    The above blog is great!

  30. I LIKE ALL OF IT

  31. Like it

  32. I liked all of Satyajit’s stories & have transleted some into Malayalam

  33. Can’t say I liked Anukul. Although I am a great fan of Ray’s writing, but in Anukul he completely ignored the laws of robotics created by Isaac Asimov


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