There’s a beautiful word in English. It’s ‘edifying’. It means morally uplifting and ennobling. Reading Ravi Valluri’s pieces, one gets that edifying feeling. His book Indian Stories: Images & Thoughts is a treasure trove of heart-gladdening and soul-cleansing short articles.
Every article is a universe of wisdom in itself. His fabulous compilation can be compared to an exquisite ghazal penned by Ghalib or Mir. As you know, a ghazal comprises a few couplets and every couplet is an independent entity. A brief piece like Ramayana by Valmiki in this book, is so thought-stirring that you instantaneously remember the proverbial line in Hindi: Dekhan mein chhote laage par ghaav kare gambheer (though they look small, the wounds they inflict are deep).
The book consists of four segments. Since he’s a mandarin in Indian Railways based in Allahabad, readers find interesting anecdotal pieces on trains in the book. Readers quickly feel connected while reading Ravi’s nuggets. Whether it’s The story of the Telugu Language or A Long Haul, readers stay glued till they finish the book. Till 1965, The Reader’s Digest carried a monthly column. It was, Not wanting to end books.
The column discussed books that readers wanted never to end. Had the column been continued, I dare say, Ravi’s Indian Stories would certainly have appeared there. Such is the impact of the book! It casts a magical spell on readers. Those with a spiritual bent of mind, will find this book a veritable manna from heaven.
The best thing about Ravi Valluri’s book is that there’s no pedantic profundity or condescending creativity. The author hasn’t written this book with a view to winning plaudits and panegyrics. It’s his humble eucharistic offering (Nirmalya in Sanskrit) to the readers. To encapsulate, it quenches the thirst of the seekers and satiates the hunger of knowers.
Book: Indian Stories: Images & Thoughts
Author: Ravi Valluri
Publisher: Become Shakespeare.com
Price: Rs 449