Key to Happiness by Khurshid Alam

Key to Happiness

‘Key to Happiness’ is a collection of 8 short stories by the author Khurshid Alam that enkindle life. The eight stories in this collection have common threads running through them: each of the main characters is on a journey. This may take the form of a train journey such as the one from Kolkata to Mumbai, a journey on foot to a family wedding, or a journey through time itself….Some of these stories have a fairy tale quality about them while others are grounded in the reality of the present day. All of them have the capacity to surprise us as each of the main characters is transformed in one way or another.

The story anthology titled ‘Key to Happiness’ explores various themes such as love, loss, family, and self-discovery. Each story is unique in its own way and provides a glimpse into the human experience.

The eight stories in this collection have common threads running through them: each of the main characters is on a journey. This may take the form of a train journey such as the one from Kolkata to Mumbai, a journey on foot to a family wedding, or a journey through time itself. Each of them is a journey of discovery. In all of these stories there is an event that becomes a significant turning point on the journey: the unexpected return of a family member, a mislaid address, a judge who didn’t get the justice he deserved when his wife filed for divorce, a police officer who catches his finger in a door jamb, a young girl entering a train compartment. These seemingly innocuous turning points are the vehicles that the author uses to accelerate each story to another level whether it be the quickening of one’s conscience, a young boy’s sexual awakening or the discovery of real happiness.

─ Neil Leadbeater, Edinburgh, Scotland

The first story ‘The Silent Revolutionary’ explores the conflict of a man who wants to change everything in life but at the same time he is afraid of the society. He even hides many progressive steps he takes in life. The psychological impact he suffers is unique. 

‘Returning Home’ is a beautiful nostalgic story. The protagonist Sadat returns home after decades to his family. He left home when he was young in search of progress in other cities, earned every success, but returns home to unite with his family in his old age. His family almost forgets about him. It is exciting to see how he settles back.

If you have ever gate-crashed a wedding party in your life? Even if your answer is NO, read ‘A Visit to a Marriage Party’. This story is an experience of gate-crashing and witty encounters with strange people.

‘Justice’ is a realistic story and explores the dilemma of a High Court judge named Justice Sidharth, who delivered so many judgements on many people and cases. But he himself did not get justice. Justice Sidharth even burst into tears when he narrates how he failed to get justice.

Khurshid is a master-satirist and uses satire very effectively in his opening story, ‘The Silent Revolutionary’. The desire to belong, everybody’s yearning at some point of time, makes ‘Returning Home’ an emotional story. On the other hand, ‘A Visit to a Marriage Party’ is a hilarious story which creates funny situations and tickles the reader. ‘Justice’ opens your eyes to the injustice being done in the courts because of biased and prejudiced thought-process of the judges.

─ Dr O. P. Arora, Novelist & Critic

‘The Pied Piper Revisits’ underlines the jeopardy of the patriarchy society, where females are considered lesser entities and are not given their due honour. Rather females suffer from several ills like rape, injustice, and biasedness. Tired of all sorts of ills, females decide to go extinct from the earth to deride men kind of female partners, who in turn suffocate to extinction.

‘My Memorable Journey by Train’, ‘Kolkata to Mumbai’, and ‘Key to Happiness’ belong to train travel story series by the author and explore the journeys of the protagonists to different destinations. ‘My Memorable Journey by Train’ is a journey of a young boy, who was made to board on a ladies compartment and observes many silly things that women do. ‘Kolkata to Mumbai’ is a story where the protagonist travels on a long distance journey and gives a thrilling view.

‘Key to Happiness’ is the title story of the anthology and is highly motivational in nature. The protagonist seems to be upset about many things in his life. He fights with his mother, his wife on small things. Once he goes on a train journey and wanders away into a jungle. There he sees a fairy-like world and then finds the ‘key to happiness’. This find makes him content in his own life and lives happily ever after this journey.  

‘The Pied Piper Revisits’ is a very sad tale of our times. The writer’s imagination in this story flirts with the idea of bringing back the legendary Pied Piper of the famous story to teach the society a very forceful lesson. ‘My Memorable Journey’ is a very interesting story which peeps into the minds of teenagers who mock at the elders when they treat them like children. ‘Kolkata to Mumbai’ is a romantic journey by train which every reader would like to share with the writer. In fact, Khurshid always finds willing beauties like Priya on the train journeys. Lucky guy! If train journeys were so pleasing and erotic, nobody would stay home. c

─ Dr O. P. Arora, Novelist & Criti

Khurshid Alam’s writing is poignant and evocative, and his stories are sure to resonate with readers of all ages. Khurshid Alam has done an excellent job of capturing the essence of human emotions and experiences in this book.

Fancy and fantasy, spiritual and supernatural, romance and reality, all join hands to create a fabulous story, ‘Key to Happiness’. The underlying philosophy is: Happiness lies in your soul, within you, not in the glittering world of dazzling diamonds.

─ Dr O. P. Arora, Novelist & Critic

About the author

Khurshid Alam

Khurshid Alam is a professional writer, editor, publisher, and technocrat. He has been working as technical author for over 16 years and currently, working as a team lead in technical documentation department with an IT company based in Pune, Maharashtra (India).

Khurshid writes poems, stories, and on literature and culture. More than 100 poems, several stories and critical essays have been published in various journals and anthologies in India and abroad. He has three books including Learn Markdown and Investigative Poetry & Other Poems to his credit until now.

Leave a Reply