"When it is cricket, I write with my blood …," says Sen.
And it shows.
The idea of Bolwed Over is unique. Six stories and a filler … each one of which is linked to cricket.
And the stories do not always conform to normal standards followed by the world. But that is what Senantix is all about.
There is a long mystery novella, three stories in the traditional sense, a story made of three haikus, an one act play and the filler is a series of emails.
"Cricket and cricketers have cropped up in my conversation every minute for as long as I can remember," the author says. "And it is no surprise that things have tumbled out as a collection of stories."
While the mystery novella is perhaps the best cricket mystery ever written, and high up there among any mystery offering, the favourite of many happen to be the delightful one-act play where a host of literary characters gather to witness a test match between England and Australia.
What gave him the idea?
"It started with my wedding," the author says. "While we got married, my wife and I started designing personalized cards for a number of our close friends. For one such friend, who was a student of English Literature, I wrote something along the same lines with Shaw, ConanDoyle, Wodehouse, Hardy, Alexander Pope discussing why I was committing the folly of matrimony. It turned out to be a great hit. So, when I contemplated writing a series of stories based on cricket, I thought it would be a good idea."
Imagine Gower throwing his wicket away impetuously and Barbara Cartland moaning,"Oh David, how could you?"
And consider Shakespeare bemoaning a false shot, "Will all his ventures fail, not one hit?" while Wodehouse sneaks up and asks him to put 3 to 1 on the Pommies.
However, my favourite piece in the star studded gem happens to be the Vikram Seth couplet, "The swinging ball kisses the careless bat – The team down under has poms on the mat"Also the absolute tongue in cheek parody of Richard Bach, where an overboundary is described with the sentence going up and down in a parabola on the page.
Finally, when Shakespeare lets out a long soliloquy which includes devilishly clever puns on the names of present and past English cricketers, Goscinny and Uderzo tap their heads and say "The English are crazy" JK Rowling, Oscar Wilde, Sidney Sheldon, Charles Dickens, Margaret Mitchell, Wordsworth and Coleridge, Beckett, Joyce and even Matsuo Basho are among the gallery of literary stars.
When at the end Beckett utters his immortal lines, one wants to coax the author for an encore or a second innings or a replay … It is contagious.
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