Last year, I received a letter written by Sh. P.N.
Razdan (Mahanori) from Jammu. It was delivered to me at my home address after it
had been posted a couple of months earlier. Sh. Razdan had addressed me as the
president, Dogra Sabha. I had ceased to be the president of Dogri Sanstha. The
letter form Dogra Sudar Sabha was redirected to Dogri Sanstha which was
subsequently redirected to my place at Malhotra street.
Sh. Razdan had mentioned in his letter that he had written
a number of short-stories in English and wanted to publish them in a book form;
he wanted me to write an Introduction to the proposed book.
To my shame, I must admit that in spite of my best efforts
I could not conjure up Sh. Razdan's face nor could recollect who he was, but
since he had written to me, he must be knowing me rather well. The letter
created mixed feelings in me:
I felt happy and even grateful to Sh. Razdan that he
considered me suitable for writing an Introduction to his book. At the same
time, I was filled with diffidence; I had not been writing in English for quite
some time, and therefore, did not feel quite competent to undertake the job. But
I did not reply to Sh. Razdan as some months had elapsed since he wrote me the
letter and he might have drawn his conclusion from this long silence. But
another Post Card from Sh. Razdan jolted me. He had given his telephone number
on the post Card. I rang him and requested him to ask some one more competent to
write an introduction to his book. I also told him that I was busy in making
arrangements for the marriage of my younger son and soon after I would be
undergoing an operation of hernia. He agreed to wait till I was free from both
I was impressed by Sh. Razdan's graciousness and in
deference to his age and insistence; I agreed to do the job. About a month back,
Shri Razdan came to our place with the type script of his collection. It was
than that I could really know something about him.
I formed Shri Razdan's acquaintance in 1968. I had gone to
Srinagar in connection with Durbar move: I happened to be the secretary J&K
Academy of Art, Culture and Languages those days. Sh. Razdan Mahanori who was a
teacher and a free-lance journalist, used to come to the Academy office
sometimes in connection with the publication of his M S. He had submitted his MS
for grant of subsidy.
I did not go to Srinagar after 1971, as I sought pre-mature
retirement from my service in January-February 1972. With that, my casual
meetings with Sh. Razdan also came to an end.
Self-expression is the basic urge in all human beings; only
the mode and the medium may differ in each case. Some may express themselves
through literature while some may do so by painting or plastic arts; others may
employ the medium of music dance or theatre etc.
Sh. Razdan has chosen the medium of literature; he has been
writing essays and one-act plays and even some journalistic pieces for some
newspapers. This is his first venture in the field of short story.
Ticklish Stories contains twenty-one short stories.
They deal with topics ranging from the domestic (Background
Story of my One-Act-Play under the same caption).
Sh. Razdan's approach is not that of a surgeon who performs
surgery without involving his emotions in any way. Sh. Razdan's approach is more
humane and warm, even personal. Structurally, they do not have the finesse of
some of the modern writers; they do not dazzle by their technical virtuosity.
His style is unembellished, simple and direct, Sh. Razdan has been a teacher and
they say' once a teacher, always a teacher'.
We can see the teacher in these stories, who believes not
only in entertaining his readers but instructing them as well. The role of
elderly people in keeping the families together, the head-strong nature of
younger members in the family who want to manage their affairs in their own way,
the feelings of a woman torn between her love for her husband and her children,
the instinct for self-preservation, which impels even the most selfless and
loving mother to give priority to her own safety over the safety of her only
daughter. The frictions causing unpleasantness in a family, the rivalries of
persons who work in educational institutions all these are depicted in a simple,
matter-of-fact manner. There is an old world charm in some of these stories and
those among us who love the home-ground wheat flour better than the food
articles from a bakery or a fast food joint would certainly find these
short-stories a change from the modern day routine- a change which is, in some
ways, quite interesting and refreshing.
Hospital Road Jammu.