Trading Flesh in Tokyois a collection of nine delightful stories and a play. The stories deal with love, poverty, crime, passion and various troubling social issues. The characters in the play are powerful non-humans who are familiar to all of us.
In The Stars Are My Witness, an Indian scientist based in Thailand refuses international awards for mysterious reasons. Will he refuse the Nobel Prize too? In The Price of Revolution, an Indian revolutionary discovers that in his absence his girlfriend has developed other passions. The End of an English Friendship touches upon the fragility of human relationships. In The Magnate’s Magnet, a Chinese billionaire remembers the day his fortunes turned.
Other stories explore terrible secrets, such as in Like Two Fingers Entwined, where an Indian girl loses her virginity with consequences for a close friendship. In Kubla Khan Smoking a Reefer, an aspiring English poet smokes some cannabis in Kathmandu with unexpected results. In The Princess Who Would be King, a young princess rebels against the norms of her society. In Trading Flesh in Tokyo, an ageing American-Indian publishing executive falls in love with a young Japanese girl, but there are weighty issues that need to be resolved. In Sex and the Seety, Raju, a small-town boy, befriends an English girl, and they end up teaching each other different skills. Finally, there is How Madame Corona Was Introduced to the World, a modern parable written in the form of a play.
Know the Author- Rajesh Talwar
A lawyer, best-selling author and writer of 37 books, Rajesh Talwar is back with his new collection of short stories and a play Trading Flesh in Tokyo: Nine Short Stories And A Play. The 9 delightful stories and a one-of-it’s-kind play deal with love, poverty, crime, passion and various troubling social issues. This modest anthology of stories explores many nations and cultures. Rajesh Talwar whose The Judiciary on Trial was reviewed by Khushwant Singh and used as the lead story in his column ‘With Malice Towards One and All,’ where he praised it fulsomely and recommended that ‘it deserved to be widely read.
Extract from the book –Trading Flesh in Tokyo
Kubla Khan Smoking a Reefer
Since I was eight years old, the time when I began to enjoy the twang in ‘Hell’s Bells’, I realised I wanted to grow up to be a song writer or a poet. No better place to try to become one than the University at East Anglia, which has produced over the years, almost factory-like, a number of award-winning writers, poets and dramatists. Admission is difficult, but it’s totally worth the effort. Listen to me, all you wannabe writers who haven’t managed to find an agent to as much as sniff at the umpteenth revision of your manuscript!
Such is the reputation of this writing school that, towards the end of the year, all manner of publishers and literary agents descend on the campus, just like the corporations and headhunters swarm around the bright sparks graduating from MBA programmes at the London Business School or the Said Business School at Oxford. Or used to, at any rate, before the corona epidemic and our extravagant spending got us all into a financial mess, from which we are slowly, and unsurely trying to unscramble ourselves. These are Dad’s views actually, which I’ve borrowed. The old man tried his best to persuade me to do engineering, as a matter of fact. I’m the only son, and I guess he wants someone to inherit the construction business he’s set up over many years. Makes sense from his point of view. But not from mine.
Sidney, Marilyn and I all wanted to be famous writers, you see. We are in the same year, but not the same class. Why is that? Well, the course there is divided into playwriting, poetry and prose. Marilyn, a stunning blue-eyed blonde, not dissimilar in appearance to her famous namesake, is Sidney’s girl, and wants to be a playwright. Sidney himself thinks he’s the next James Joyce, and I, well, I quite fancied myself as a poet. I have been told that with a name like William – there was William Butler Yeats, William Wordsworth and, of course, the Bard himself – coupled with dreamy eyes, high cheekbones and dreadlocks, I do have a chance of making a name for myself as a poet, although it’s a much more difficult task than being a successful novelist or playwright.
Our classes finished a couple of months ago, and we were now required to produce a literary work roughly equivalent to the dissertation that you are asked to submit if you are enrolled in a Masters in politics or law.
That’s when Sidney, who is the eldest among us – having worked variously as a bricklayer, English-to-German translator and taxi driver – had this brainwave, if you could call it that, that we should all go away to Kathmandu for a holiday.
‘Why Kathmandu?’ I wanted to know.
‘We’ll have the view of the Himalayas from our hotel window,’ said Sidney persuasively, ‘and we could even smoke hashish for inspiration.’
The suggestion struck a chord in me. I had been in a daze ever since I’d read ‘Kubla Khan’ by Coleridge. The rhyming, that incredible use of the iambic tetrameter, the soaring imagination that created that masterpiece. Samuel Taylor Coleridge had become my all time and ultimate guru. I know that many nature enthusiasts rate his friend and contemporary, my namesake William Wordsworth, higher, but this is how I feel. When I learned that the poem had been written in a matter of days after an opium-induced dream, I thought to myself,
Perhaps this is how I too will write my masterpiece. Getting stoned on hashish with a view of the highest mountains in the world seemed to a really great idea.