Bhukh Eon Sah Laindi Hai: Short Stories (Dhahan Award Winner)
The Dhahan Prize winner of 2023, Bhukh Eon Sah Laindi Hai’ (‘Hunger Breathes Like This’) is Deepti Babuta’s fourth short story collection. Most of the stories are about women and their lived experiences in urban environments. Every short-story title is provocative, conjuring up images from individual and collective memory. They are genuine voices of women. They give agency to females in relationships dominated by powerful males. The title story is photographic. It personifies hunger in its many forms. Brilliantly crafted in a fantastical style, it is at times a shocking commentary on human desires. The nightmarish dream in the story is triggered by the Pulitzer Prize winning, iconic 1993 photograph, “The Vulture and the Little Girl” from the Sudanese famine, by photojournalist Kevin Carter. The unbearable image of a famished little girl in her final breaths and a vulture poised to devour her is contrasted with the photographer’s professional dedication to take a click of this horrific moment.