Left From Dhakeshwari by Kunal Sen - Read Along Week Three

August 10, 2013

Left From Dhakeshwari by Kunal Sen Read Along

Hey everyone! Welcome to the third stop in  the Left From Dhakeshwari Read Along! If you didn't catch the kick off and the first two stops in the read along, you can always catch up here:

But it's not necessary that you should've read the others in order to be able to follow this post, since Left From Dhakshwari is a collection of short stories, so there's really no need :)

Today we're going to be looking at the 6th and 7th stories in the book - Alexandra's Stalker and  Eucalyptus.

Alexandra's Stalker is about a writer who has a fascination hangover over an actress, Alexandra who acted in a television series he co wrote. Ever since he was forced to write her out of the script, she has preyed over his mind, influenced his decisions in some way or another, until he finally decides to do something concrete about it and face his mixed up emotions of guilt, fascination, and admiration for her.

In Eucalyptus, Aniruddha who was also the protagonist of Bomb Church, makes a reappearance. In Bomb Church he searches for his mother, trying to figure out her identity after her mysterious and abrupt departure from his life. In Eucalyptus, mother and son are united again, and take a journey down memory lane.

Kunal Sen has a pretty different style of writing. It leaves a lot to the reader's imagination, forcing him/her to actively involve himself in the telling of the story, which was actually pretty interesting. You certainly cant find him writing lines and lines about a room's furniture or anything!

His endings as well are open ended (which I found reminiscent of my mother's writings, since she her stories tend to end the same way). Though I'm sure a lot of people love this kind of closing, as it gives them the freedom to (almost) write the characters' story to their will, for someone like me, who likes every thread tied tight and strong, sometimes, I ended up turning the page, looking to see if there was a continuation or thinking, 'And then? What happened?'

Alexandra's Stalker was intense, with the author managing to pack a gamut of emotions into a short story. The story is set in Hollywood, involving Agnimitra (it was funny, but certainly new seeing such an utterly Indian name in a Western setting!), the co writer of 'Delphinium Days', a TV series, and Alexandra, the young actress who plays a character close to his heart. Some readers have said that that Agnimitra was in love with Alexandra, but I somehow didn't see their relationship that way. It seemed more like he had a deep seated fascination for her (not in a creepy way) and a yearning to discover the core of her as an actor and share it with the world. I am, however uncomfortable with the use of the word 'stalker' as it holds a negative connotation for me, but I cant deny that it adds to the intensity of the story. Agnimitra spends many years regretting his decisions and being haunted by this young girl that he let down, but the story ends on a positive hope, with some hope of redemption for Agnimitra.

Eucalyptus is something of a continuation of Bomb Church. In it, Aniruddha finally meets his mother and talks and spends time with her to his heart's content. They travel down memory lane, going to some places that hold memories for each of them. The entire story takes place in the span of a single day, and as we observe the two in each new location, we're also given the current time. It's this that leads me to think that the story doesn't necessarily take place in real life, since it's kind of impossible to cover the distance between the mentioned places in so short a time. It's a story of reminiscing the past - good and bad times, of acceptance and understanding, and of forgiveness and a meeting of equals. I cant say that it's one of my favourites, but it's certainly a different story that has a different take on things.


And now...

Discussion questions! Apparently, this is a norm, but I'm kind of new at this thing, so if they're lame, please be nice :)

The questions are not centered around the stories, though they're certainly a few questions that arise while reading them, so needn't have read the book in order to be able to answer these questions.
1. What was/is your favourite TV series, and did it ever change you in any way?

2. Do you think it's better to 'forgive and forget' or 'forgive but not necessarily forget'? (or if you have your own twist to the saying, share it!)

3. We all have regrets. But if you were given a do-over, would you go back and change the way you did things, or would you do it the same way, trusting that it has made you grow as a person in ways you wouldn't have otherwise?


  1. Well its better to forgive and forget.,that makes life easier and happier.doing this isnt easy per say, but if one wants to stay blessed throughout their lives thn it is a must thing to do...

  2. First of all great post Fahima and good questions. My answers are
    1. Yes fascinated by Sheldon Cooper from The Big Bang Theory, I would love to be as emotion less as he is some day.

    2. Forgive and Forget always go hand in hand, you cant forgive unless you can forget it completely. This is self realization for me and I would like to share that Forgive and Forget is more for yourself than the person who is at fault. He/she may not be affected if you dont forgive them, but you will surely be. That event will hold up a part of your brain and eat your soul a little everytime you remember it. Its all not worth it, life after all is short and a learning process for everyone, so forget it and to forget it entirely you have to learn to forgive first.

    3. Depends on the situation. For some mistakes you could give up anything to correct them , for the others you wouldn't be what you are if you didnt learn that lesson. life isnt a straight line equation after all :).

    Hoping my long answers weren't boring. Loving the read along. kudos to everyone doing it so dedicatedly :)

  3. Hi Fahima! First of all, apologies for stopping by so late and secondly, lovely post!

    I agree with you that author Kunal Sen's writing is different but I'm actually liking it. It has a nice flow to it, although I'm finding it a little difficult to understand. It's more like there is something hidden in his lines.

    I love abrupt and cliffhanger endings so I don't mind them at all. I love it when you can carry forward a story based solely on your imagination. But yes, details are always, always appreciated.

    Alexandra's stalker was a really nice story that had me thinking about life behind the scenes and how one single incident can change your life forever. As for Eucalyptus, I really didn't understand that it but all I can say is that the mother and son shared a complex relation. By the way, I loved reading your thoughts on the stories.

    Now, onto my responses-

    1) Honestly, unlike most, I'm not a huge TV junkie. In fact, I seldom watch TV. It rests the idiot box for me. I do watch a few series like The Big Bang Theory and MasterChef Australia religiously but they are solely for entertainment and leave me with nothing but a smile on my face.

    2) I think it's easier to forgive than forget. And both are equally important. n't Forging is necessary for peace. Forgetting isn't easy but it's beneficial to learn from your mistakes so as to not repeat them.

    3) I'd love to go back to the same times!

    Once again, lovely post and see you at the next stop!

    Sarika @ The Readdicts

  4. I think when one can lug their own history into a critique and interpret a piece of work through the prism of those personal, sensorial experiences and memories, then that makes it unique, and so, I found that bit about your mother’s endings fascinating.

    About the endings- while writing, ‘scenes’ more naturally dominate my imagination, than a master narrative-arc, perhaps because of my filmmaking origins. So, the story gets built up on constructs of confrontational vignettes, like episodes, and miniature-art monologues, like when you hear a voice-over. I don't feel inclined to tie it all up.

    My answers:

    1. My favourite TV-series was ‘Twin Peaks’. It taught me that art could be simultaneously intuitive and precise. It taught me about Tibet, open-endings, dreams and things we hold in wonder.
    2. I know it’s supposed to be therapeutic but I find forgiving difficult and forgetting impossible.
    3. I wish I could go back, knowing the things that I know now, in some kind of eternity.

  5. Hello Fahima, Apologies for the late reply but I have doing that a lot :D.

    I too find that detail about your Mother's writing style interesting, I didn't know she writes. Well that explains your exquisite taste is readings. :)

    I really like the new layout or your blog and the way way your have written this post.

    Onto your questions:

    1) My favorite TV series... It seems like an easy question but I am one of those people who gets bored when things get monotonous even like having a same favorite TV series. Though I like dance reality competitions a lot, every dance has a story and it moves me even for a moment, that matters.

    2) I forgive but don't forget easily and saying from experience I believe sometimes or mostly 'Forgive and forget' is must and I am trying to learn that, I think blocking some memories are easy then forgetting, sometimes we think we have forgotten but truly we haven't, I guess only time can tell such things.

    3) A do-over is a blessing. I would love to go back in time and do-over the things that only affects me but if it involves someone else then I would rather create another opportunity then correct my previous mistakes.

    Ankita :)


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