The 24th edition of Collection MAURICE “Jouissances et Réjouissances, Let’s Celebrate, Lafaya”, published by Immedia, was launched on 12 December 2017 at St. Georges Hotel, Port Louis. This article aims at giving the reader a rough idea of what the compilation is all about.
“Rave Party en fumée” by Haddiyyah Tasneem revolves around a special party organised by the young for the young deep in some forest. There’s plenty of amusement in a psychedelic atmosphere. And drugs too. Stéphane is a first-timer and is easily tempted to try new experiments, new sensations. He wants to make the most of the party till he discovers the woman he is conversing with is from the ADSU. The revellers’ dream to have a fabulous time and indulge in drugs goes up in smoke. The story raises issues like drugs among the young, peer pressure, and also the fight against the scourge of drugs that are destroying the lives of young people.
I think, there may be nothing wrong with a rave party as such but when drug abuse (and even sex), alcohol abuse and other excesses come into play, we need to be concerned about the future of our children. Young people always start with petty stuff and small doses but many of them end up, with time, as heavy users of stronger drugs. We need to start asking ourselves certain questions: Are we giving too much liberty to our young people? Are we placing too much trust in them? Are we not giving them too much licence to frequent who they want? How much are we controlling their use of technology? Shouldn’t we be a little more interested to know what our teenaged children are doing behind our back? The story can therefore be said to be thought-provoking.
“Alive” by Yesha Mahadeo-Doorgakant is about a wife’s’ urge to move ahead in life after breaking off with a husband she’s unhappy with. Her marriage has been miserable (a “slow destruction”, “the daily fights”, “the nitpicking”, “the cries on the pillow each night” (p 138). You would have thought that walking out on him would have left her crushed. Instead, she celebrates her new-found freedom in the rain. She laughs, giggles and has loads of fun in the puddles, the rain becoming symbolical of renewal here. It’s as if she’s purging a toxic relationship from her system. If the past was painful, the present is liberating. Earlier she felt trapped in an awful relationship, now she realises she can live life on her own terms. The story suggests giving life a second chance.
Jeanine Trublet-Descroizilles writes about a housemaid living in hard conditions in “Si un jour le Bon Dieu…” Her house is often flooded during rainy times and her dream is to have a decent ceiling above the head. One day she proudly announces that she possesses one: Enn ti bizou. Prop, konfortab… é li pas koulé (p 56). Maybe God has listened to her prayers. Maybe she’s lucky. Or maybe miracles have done their part. Anyway, it’s time to celebrate because her life now has a meaning. She’s no longer the rejected, the victimized. A house of her own gives her a dignified place in society.
“Champagne for dinner” by Priya N. Hein is about a marriage going wrong. Neela runs an art gallery. Dave holds an important position in a Ministry. She knows he’s cheating on her during his extensive travels abroad but she doesn’t over-blow the issue. For their eighteenth wedding anniversary, he coolly announces he’s got someone else in his life and therefore wants a divorce. She signs the papers. In an interesting twist, she declares that she too has met someone. It’s stunning news for Dave. In fact, she has just beaten him at his own game. He thought she would be lonely and helpless following the separation but ironically she’ll be better off as the new man is a diplomat. The story depicts characters pretending to be happy and fine with each other but who lead double lives. We also see marriage as a fragile institution. The champagne represents a new beginning as well as the notion of tit for tat.
Routine has settled in the life of a couple. They have everything except a satisfying sex life. So what happens next? Sailesh Ramchurn explores this idea in “Je souris”. One day the wife arrives home earlier from work to find her husband copulating with the maid. She’s shocked but says nothing, which leaves us to guess the storm brewing within her. She feels like something is missing in her life. Where has she gone wrong? Riddled with guilt, she feels diminished in her own eyes. One day she seduces a technician who has come home to repair something. They share hot moments while the husband is out of the country.
The story is sensual. The woman giving herself entirely to the young lover and her sexual fulfilment bears a psychological dimension to it. It may be her way of revenging herself or it may be an unconscious need to fill an emotional and physical void so as to feel whole as a woman. It may also be that she wishes to ignite some romantic sparks into her life. Here is another story of a marriage on the rocks. Sex with the other man becomes an outlet to face one’s boredom and heartaches. But one thing remains missing in her life: Love.
In the last four stories mentioned above, we find characters boldly leaving behind the bad phases of their lives and longing for a better life. They suffer reverses but do not give up that essential flicker of hope in their quest for happiness.
29 authors have contributed to this Collection edited by Rama Poonoosamy.