‘After the Rain’ is a compilation of short stories that pans over the SAARC region striving to bring a cross section of voices suited for its literary experiment into the fold. The collection houses five writers and ten entries. Budding authors and established names come together from Nepal, Maldives and Pakistan to showcase their range and the region’s rustic charm. This impromptu gathering of ‘the chosen ones’ boasts of names like Ibrahim Waheed ‘Ogaru’, the ‘writer-artist’ from the Maldives; Pushpa R Acharya from Nepal; Arbab Daud and Kiran Bashir Ahmad from Pakistan. Ayesha Zee Khan, the winner of the SAARC Literary Award 2012 for Building Bridges, an anthology of poems, also lends her voice to the chorus.
It is an ambitious little book that tries to define new heights of literary greatness with its simple fare. It is a whiff of fresh air in literature today. Stories are written in more accessible style and are based on some personal experiences.
This is the hallmark of constructing a realistic prose in narrative fiction. In one story of Ayesha, “Mischief is my middle name” one can see a glimpse of French story teller Guy de Maupassant’s easy greasy style, especially illustrated in the prose of his famous work, “L’lnutile Beauty” (The Useless Beauty).
There is a nice little foreword by Frank Huzur (poet, playwright and author from India) but no ‘Editor’s note’ or in this case ‘Compiler’s note’.
Readers remain in the dark about the inspiration behind After the Rain or the criteria for selection. Since it seems to be missing a critical component — parts of the Pakistani chapter — because of those uneven edges might be viewed as the weakest link in the goodwill chain. Hopefully, it is nothing a hawk-eyed editor with nerves of steel cannot fix.