Book Launch -Down The Road by Grey Oak Publications

The road blocks (literally!), due to Ambedkar Jayanti celebrations did not deter book enthusiasts from attending the book launch of Grey Oak Publishers’ new offering – Down The Road. An electic anthology of 28 campus tales by 16 authors brings back unforgettable memories of life in the campus. We all have had our share of school and college incidents that bring out emotions and feelings attached to the carefree life we truly miss now. And reviving those memories for the audience at Landmark, were the people who made the book a success.
On the panel were – Ahmed Faiyaz, Sahil Khan, Paritosh Uttam, Rohini Kejriwal, Naman Saraiyawith me moderating the discussion. After a crisp introduction of the authors and the editors what followed was a lively dialogue with the famous five (as they would be known by now).

The evening opened with a conversation with Ahmed Faiyaz – a renowned author with two popular bestsellers to his credit – Love, Life and All That Jazz and Another Chance; and of course memorable short stories contributed to Urban Shots.

On being asked about the selection of the title, Ahmed spoke about how an online poll was conducted with a few options competing for the title position and how the most voted title was finally chosen.

“Short stories are easier to write as well as read. When we were compiling stories for Urban Shots we had a few stories set in the campus life. So we thought of compiling just such stories that brings back memories of campus life,” smiled Ahmed on being asked about the ideation of compiling short stories.

Paritosh Uttam, Pune based software engineer and the prolific author of Dreams in Prussian Blue as well as the editor of Urban Shots (and of course one of the authors of the anthology), spoke about his two short stories featuring in Down The Road. “One of them is entirely fictional and the other one is written from personal experience, but I won’t tell you which one that is,” blushed the soft spoken author.

Sharing her experience of co-editing the collection was Rohini Kerjriwal, a 19…ooppss 20 year old PYT. “Grey Oaks has been kind to give me an opportunity to co-edit the stories. It really has been a wonderful journey.”
Naman Saraiya gathered most accolades from the audience, which of course comprised more girls. Need we get into details – nahh! We’ll let Naman’s “love” stories do the talking. His story, he said, is based on a friend’s encounters. Well captured and brilliantly put.

And of course, Sahil Khan – a lifestyle activist, a hard-core foodie (don’t be fooled by his skinny appearance and innocent looks), and one of the Young Turks of Pune, shared his experience of writing his short story “That’s It?”

Reminiscing about their campus life, the panelists shared a few experiences of their “good old days” and gathered a few laughs, trying to take a dig at each other.

(L-R) Paritosh Uttam, Sahil Khan, Ahmed Faiyaz
(*Pic by Aniket Dasgupta)

Down The Road is sure to connect with each reader- be it an adult or a youngster. The entire collection brings out feelings and incidents that readers must’ve experienced at some point in their life,” affirmed Rohini and Ahmed as they spoke about the USP of the book.
Wondering about what’s next in line from the desk of these brilliant writers -this is what we found out.

Ahmed has his hands full -scripting “Another Chance” (for hopefully a movie tie-up) and working on another novel; not to forget, the next Urban Shots anthology – a “Love” collection.
Paritosh too is working on his novel which possibly would be out this year. He is also contributing to Urban Shots Love Collection.
Rohini, Naman and Sahil would definitely continue working together for TossedSalad.com as well as for Urban Shots further anthologies. We sure hope Sahil keeps his commitment to delivering a full fledged novel soon.

The evening ended with a quick book-signing session by all present on the panel and the crowd hung around for quite a while, talking to the authors.

All said and done, Down The Road is sure to strike a memorable chord in your heart. All you have to do is -read it!

Though all the short stories in here are brilliant, my preference would be:

Down The Road – By Ahmed Faiyaz

Rishi & Me – By Ira Trivedi

Sororicide – By Paritosh Uttam

One Bump Does No Harm – By Naman Saraiya

That’s It – By Sahil Khan

The Cafe With No Name – By Sneh Thakur

The Worm That Turned – By Malathi Jaikumar

Growing Up – By Rohini Kejriwal

But most importantly – go pick up Down The Road and revive your campus days memories. This one is sure to “rock”!

Oh and do not miss my essay on Page 209 – Fiction on Campus. This marks my debut as a contributing writer.

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