Short Stories about the Indian Middle Class

Hats and Doctors is a collection of Hindi and Urdu short stories by Upendranath Ashk, translated by Daisy Rockwell. The stories are set in India at a time when trains had an Intermediate Class and a Third Class and when Lahore wasn’t a city across the border. Even so, the keen observations Ashk makes about the Indian middle class would hold true even today. The characters in his stories are believable and one can see their contemporary versions around us today. The stories are funny and sometimes sad. The translation is very good though sometimes I couldn’t help trying to translate a particularly funny line back to Hindi to see how it would sound. Recommended reading.

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