LAHORE: Coffee House, a book written by an emerging writer, Irfan Javed, is out in stores and has received a warm welcome from readers all across the country.The book comprises of different short stories that describe different societal norms and happenings through fictional or inspired characters.The writer has, through his talent of using vivid imagery in the content, tried to point out different social dilemmas, including the apathy of different downtrodden classes. Side by side, he has also portrayed the beauty of some of our societal traditions and practices.
Irfan started writing in the 90s and wrote several short stories, which were published in Fanoon, Ma’asir, Dunyazad, Symbol, Naqaat and Mae No.He has never been a particularly subtle writer, in fact, he deals in evident ironies and striking contrasts rendered effective by his emotional commitment to the characters.Coffee House is his latest book of short stories in which he makes use of his abundant storytelling techniques.This masterly storyteller fervently believes that the healing process begins with a decision to share your stories, no matter how terrible, sad, or devastating they may be.
In the first short story ‘Samjhota’, Irfan narrates the story of man who had been living a comfortable life until lust for money encircles him. He indulges in crime, consequently ending up in jail. Initially, he curses himself for making the decision but later comes to terms with it and accepts the life in jail as his destiny.Irfan’s second short story is from the viewpoint of a prostitute who describes her sufferings and tormenting life story. “There is always a man behind a woman’s suffering,” this centuries’ old blame has been repeated in the story.
The next story in line is about a drug addict who ruins his life despite repeated warnings from his loved ones. Irfan’s next short story is a portrayal of the disastrous effects of terrorism where people see their loved ones dying in terrorist attacks.Another story, ‘Kaamini’, is about reversal fates. Everybody needs redemption otherwise crimes and sins come back to haunt, the story states.Another short story titled ‘Chaadrein’ talks about the importance of speaking as well as listening to the truth. It tells about the necessity of not only having the courage to speak the truth but also to subjugate the truth about oneself and society. In the short story ‘Olga’, the differences between Western and Eastern cultures have been described. ‘Shiakast’ is a story putting forward feelings of motherhood.
Separately, the story ‘Chacha Izzat’ is all about unity. It asserts that although Pakistanis may have differences in opinions and rifts over different issues, but when it comes to facing the country’s enemy, they all stand united. The stories ‘Aik Lafaz’ and ‘Bhonchaal’ are about breaking social norms and stereotypical notions.‘Babloo’ is another story that reflects the sad aspects of terrorism whereby the innocent suffer and die untimely deaths.Separately, ‘Aik Nafsiyati Masla’ tells the story of two men and their different perspectives about sin. In ‘Boss and Mirza’, the writer puts forward a philosophy, saying that sometimes people hate to love and willingly let go of love. ‘Afsar-e-Aala’ presents the life story of a bureaucrat and repeats the reality that life goes on despite sufferings, loss and deceptions.Meanwhile, in the story ‘Apna Ghar’, the writer has tried to paint a picture of women’s misery and sufferings that arise due to the misogynistic thinking of our society.The last short story, ‘Intezaar’ is about dealing with emotional upheavals, especially after the loss of a loved one.