Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : July 22nd 2015 Contents A33
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Caution. If you have urgent business
to attend to, do not pick up Rhoda
Bharath s The Ten Days Executive and
other stories. One tale can and will
lead to another.
Written almost entirely in the ver-
nacular, Bharath s expert storytelling
skills are on abundant display between
the covers of this collection published
by Peepal Tree Press, available in hard
copy or for the Kindle on Amazon.
Though the collection includes 13
standalone stories, a common plaintive
socio-cultural thread flows from Basil s
job-hunting shenanigans in The Ten
Days Executive to the juicy details of
the delightfully-gossipy Calendar of
Events which closes off the collection
and in which little effort is made to
disclaim association with politicians
dead or alive.
There is a rawness to all of it and a
recurring theme of hopelessness.
Bharath is not prescribing revolution
but identifying the essential pre-req-
uisites for one. When she ends with
Calendar of Events, there is a political
signal to be detected.
Among Bharath s strong points, apart
from her mastery of the Trini "voice,"
is her ability to evoke ironic laughter
over frequently pathetic, parodied char-
acters. There is often a sense of guilt
that, at some point, there had been a
chuckle, if not outright, raucous laugh-
ter. However, a tragic undertone is to
be found throughout. Basil s eventual
job-prospecting success, for example,
is made to represent a deep and dark
Silla is The Fairest of Them All and
can be said to have reappeared as the
nameless voice of incestuous sexual
abuse in Breast Pocket.
"My first sexual relationship last
seven years. We stop sexing when I
turn fourteen because by that time
plenty thing did happen in that house."
Breast Pocket represents wholesale
engagement of tragedy like none of the
others. There are no light moments.
No clever, chuckle-inducing turns of
phrase like some of the other stories.
Even taxi driver, Sempo, of Sempo s
Wedding at first appears to be the
laughable subject of unrequited love,
but there is a haunting sense of hope-
lessness as Bharath engages the subject
of class and social mobility. Sempo s
wedding does not materialise. It remains
Before I Dead gets behind stories of
teen violence in school through the
voice of a young man from Arouca
whose real name is Saleem but who is
known by everyone as "Taj." "This
morning," he says, "I carry a gun
because they get me vex."
In this story, race and class are bru-
tally confronted without restraint. There
is to be no end, but a bad end. Though
Gaps, which speaks of young innocent
love and lust, offers a spark of possibility
but race and religion stand in the way.
The story flows as a quiet reflection to
a close friend, which it is, and closes
almost predictably in defeat.
The Ten Days Executive is a must-
read in the current political climate.
Bharath offers a shocking reflection of
a society she interprets as being de-
railed and dysfunctional. There are pre-
cious few moments of hope, but many
times when its possibility appeared.
Raw theme unravels
in Bharath's collection
There is a rawness to all of it
and a recurring theme of
hopelessness. Bharath is not
prescribing revolution but
identifying the essential
pre-requisites for one.
Cover art of Rhoda
Bharath's The Ten
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