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A gifted storyteller

Prabhakar Jaini is a well-known figure in the Telugu literary circle of Hyderabad as a novelist and short-story writer and in Tollywood as dialogue, screenplay writer, and a director with a penchant for experimentation. He has so far written 12 novels, a couple of them in English, and a host of short stories. A retired commercial tax officer, Prabhakar is a film director by training and a Telugu writer by choice. Writing is his first love and it is amply evident in 'Meals Ticket', an anthology of short stories which he brought recently.

This collection brings out 18 stories, the best of his writings he wrote over about three decades. They were published in various leading Telugu weeklies and monthlies like, 'Andhra Prabha', 'Navyai ' and 'India Today' (Telugu). Interestingly, though written over a while, all these stories are narrated in the first person, a popular technique which makes the writer intimate with the reader and strikes immediately a chord in the latter's heart.

Like the butterflies in the picture on the cover, his stories present life in its varied hues and shades. The stories, 'Meals Ticket', and 'Soul Mate' do deserve a special mention. These prize-winning stories present the two sides of the much talked about the parent-child relationship. While the cover story tells us how callous children take wealth and forsake their widower father in the evening of life, the second story presents the picture of a sad and crestfallen NRI son at the loss of both his parent's hand in hand at an ICU ward.

Like some other stories, 'Checkpost-Badhili' (Transfer), published on March 2019 in 'Swathi' weekly, has in it some autobiographical elements as it is about a duty-minded, above-board check-post official.

The anthology ends with 'Surdhukunnara?' (Adjected?). Published in 'Sakshi' in June, it is about a group of retired and jovial people and it tells us that 'Life needs adjustments'.

Coming to his use of the idiom, we must say that he writes with great ease and felicity and as a film director and a writer, he knows the art of telling a story well with verve. As he has bagged many awards and honours so far, the reader hopes and longs for a lot more from this promising and gifted writer.

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