Her fellow Club members referred to her as a sharp legal eagle. But the amiable expression I sensed on her face is better reflected in her writing as a mirror to her true self, I mused, as I read Khorshed R. Jhaveri’s “Through the Corridors of Justice.” This collection of short stories was gifted to me as a return courtesy for having shared perspectives of my debut novel “ Blossom Showers” with the Rotary South Mumbai Hills at the Emerald Room of the Taj in Mumbai over a sumptuous lunch in November. The aftermath of a rich repast of dhansak and lagan nu custard is not perhaps the ideal time to listen to a speaker, however impassioned, but I was glad to note Khorshed Jhaveri among the attentive listeners.
The short story, I realize is a highly focussed literary form. It must convey in all intensity those aspects of a situation that are under the fictional spotlight; the other aspects of the characters’ lives are implied or unstated. The depicted situation is like a slice in the loaf of a character’s life; it bears relationship to a connected whole but is complete in itself.
It was a while before I could delve into Jhaveri’s book, but once I found a free evening, I could finish the seven stories of this collection in a sitting. They engage the reader because these tales are firmly rooted in the human condition- its decisions and dilemmas, its despair and disillusionment. The author doesn’t write of the abstract or improbable; follies and foibles of fellow humans are put across with understanding and empathy. The black and white of the printed page evokes approximations of authentic flesh and blood people. It’s not hard to conjecture that observations of the peculiarities of legal process and the greater poignancy of life underlie these fictional portraitures. Yet encouragingly, many of the stories ring with hope. They resonate with the triumph of the human spirit to overcome imposed limitations, in the quest for justice, truth, personal freedom and self-fulfillment, transcending the negative force of surrounding constraint. The first and last stories in the collection which feature determined female protagonists are particularly notable in this regard.
I was also glad to be acquainted with the author’s distinguished and versatile persona.She was the first lady to be inducted into the Tata Administrative Service and for many years was the Company Secretary of Tata Steel. Khorshed R. Jhaveri enjoys renown as a prolific writer on law, both as a newspaper columnist and as an author of learned legal books that have gone into many editions and re-prints. Her first book of short stories “ The Mother and Other Short Stories” debuted successfully in 2005. As a philanthropist, who graces the boards of several worthy organizations, the proceeds of this book are earmarked for charity.
“ Through the Corridors of Justice” is definitely for readers who like writing that rings true without artifice, carrying a strong appeal to human sensitivities.