Society is built on the foundation of transactions that eventually govern the flow of civilizations, history, emotional and social exchanges and of course give way to many colorful stories. Moolah is one such curated collection of short stories that touch upon a wide array of themes circling the money-matters - the wealth of ancestors and expected inherences, traumas of demonetization, known saving secrets of housewives, and money-morality conflicts, to name a few. The book houses thirteen stories by thirteen authors along with links to ‘Money Talks’ by recognized experts and academicians on the matter.
Karen Dipnarine-Saroop in her story ‘Mohur’ talks about a little girl Naraini, who works her way around for her entire life to save the mohur gifted by her mother when she was married off at the age of ten. Although the story is fast-paced, it manages to take the readers through different phases of her life and feel her agony. Author Gaurav Sharma Lakhi shares an episode related to demonetization imposed across the nation in 2016 and Kheya Baidya writes a story around the same subject from a woman’s perspective. ‘Money Axioms’ is a well-structured story talking about a charitable man, his pride, guilt, and life coming to a full circle eventually. Hanadi’s ‘The Jar of Red Chillies’ gives the readers a peek into the daily life and struggles of a middle-class family; ‘How Much Does Money Matter?’ by Mita Bandyopadhyay is quite contemporary. The idea of human love and emotion is compared to the value of money. We agree that both have their significance and the author tries to bring out this aspect in the fresh backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The conclusion of Author Bharati Guleria’s story goes well with its title ‘Money, the Most Indispensable Part of Life’ which naturally comes to her through a life experience she narrates in the story; ‘Out of the Frying Pan’ is a beautiful story by Ushma Shah about the financial tussles of the migrants from the villages during the demonetization period. As much as it is thought-provoking, the story is equally layered with emotions. Shyamolima Saika, in her story ‘Atop the Bamboo Tree’ questions the worth of a financially dependent woman versus a financially independent one. The bamboo tree symbolizes her sensations of fear, love, and acceptance. ‘The Golden Paint’ written by Lahari Mahalanabish is a dramatic love story with an intriguing angle that I leave for the readers to discover by themselves. Chandra Sundeep brings to light the factor of male dominance and a woman’s helplessness in money matters through her story ‘The Value of Nothing’. And finally, Neelima KE’s story ‘The Wake’ talks about the longing for an anticipated inheritance and the actions which accompany it.
Certain elements of the supremacy of a particular gender are evident in almost all the stories. The readers could easily form a connection around each of these since they are very much about the regular concerns of the commoners around the subject. In my opinion, although certain stories lost track and depth of the issue in between, I’ll happily pick ‘Out of the Frying Pan’, ‘How Much Does Money Matter?’ and ‘Atop the Bamboo Tree’ as my favorite stories from the book. I recommend this book to all those who think of money as a high-end utility and also to those who undermine its importance.
Reviewed by: Nazneen Kachwala
The book is available on Amazon in electronic format.
Price: INR 149/-
Free access to Kindle Unlimited subscribers.