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#StoryOfTheMonth September 2016 by Raj Mitra

Simplicity, they say, is about subtracting the obvious and adding the meaningful. Amrita Chakraborty’s “City Lights” is a reflection of the pangs of human existence in a hyper-connected society that’s becoming more a “sharing economy” and less a caring one. The loneliness in a crowd, the angst of not being able to fit ourselves in those pre-defined silos, and the burden of our self-imposed baggage force us to look for solace in every nook and corner, in distant places. Until love and affection affection appear from the most unexpected quarters, to make us realize the cobweb of complexity that we have built around us. “City Lights” is a simple yet meaningful celebration of life — those little moments of joy that we tend to ignore, those relationships that are beyond blood and those acts of simplicity that often appear ever elusive.

#StoryOfTheMonth September 2016 by Anindita Chatterjee

The story ‘City Lights’ deals with the agony of modern human existence in an urban space. Social alienation is a modern malady. It results in distance or isolation between individuals, between an individual and a group of people within a community or work environment. The narrator essentially suffered from a sense of disintegration and rootlessness. She was unable to bridge the gap between her selves, there existed a split between her real self and the professional façade she was forced to wear.  Being uncertain about where she wanted to belong and what she wanted to hold on to, she decided to go with the flow and fit in somewhere. It resulted in a dichotomy between her outer and inner self which she failed to assimilate and it left her in a perpetual moral dilemma. She was lonely and lost. It generated a sense of stress, anxiety and anguish, for she did not have any anchor to sustain and comfort her. Her nerves remained taut, and the pressure of performance took a toll on her emotions, which made her a loner. She continued to carry on the burden of her hollow existence until suddenly she received a small gesture of warmth, and affection from her peon which transformed her life thereafter. The little act of kindness and sharing touched her core and made her realize that while she had been struggling in desperation to become cool,  deep inside her the human heart  longed and craved for warmth and love. The little gesture of sharing homemade sweets by a stranger in an office whom she had never ever thought of making a friend made her realize that one often finds love in most unfamiliar and unexpected places. The often unobserved little nameless acts of kindness and faith helps us to find new meaning of existence which otherwise remain obscure and hidden in our mundane and daily struggle of existence. The story comes as an eye opener. In a world where human being are cocooned and confined into their limited selfish peripheries of ego and need, little gestures of care and love can become meaningful and profoundly significant.  These moments can often impart more significant lessons of values in life than the collected volumes of books and encyclopedias ever do. Life is another name of acceptance, everyone wishes to belong somewhere, we often venture out in utter desperation to become that what we are not..and in the process lose out on the essential joys of life. Happiness lies in moments and making memories together. In a world where gadgets have taken over human emotions, and heart has taken a back seat, where relationships are formed on the basis of need, the story carries a strong message. One can find love in most unexpected corners, only one has to have a heart to respond to it.