Tag Archives: short stories

The Long And Short Of It

Walk into a book store and you are sure to find a heap of novels lined up meticulously. But how many are anthologies compared to the full length novels? Hardly a few!

I really can’t say what I like reading more – short stories or a full length novel. Though both have equal, if not less, rewards, they suffer their downfalls too.

My love for short stories began (and somewhat ended) during the school days, where in our “Gul Mohar Reader” had simple short stories that, at least I, used to end up reading even before school started for the particular term.  Stories by O.HenryRoald DahlErnest HemingwayGraham Greene, R. K. NarayanMark TwainLeo Tolstoy,Issac AsimovRuskin Bond, and so many other authors always interested me.
 But that affair lasted a short while. Once out of school, it got somewhat difficult to  track a good collection of short stories. Well, I must confess, I really did not try as hard, due to increasing academic pressures. But whenever I could, I would ask around for anthologies rather than novels.
It’s just that short stories are much easier to interpret, digest, and ponder upon. And the beauty lies in the fact that they could be read easily in one sitting. The restless soul that I am, I tend to get a little impatient reading a really long novel. I jump to a lot of conclusions before reaching the climax. Which in a way is good if the novel is exciting. But it just breaks my heart to see shoddy endings that leave me disappointed.

Also, short stories can be read (and re-read) anytime – while traveling to work, (sometimes at work), while enjoying a relaxed afternoon at home in a comfortable bean-bag, or any week night when sweet slumber deserts you.
Another thing about short stories is that you can pick up any story that you wish to read, without having to worry about the sequence. (Oh, but my OCD to follow a sequence is something I can’t help.)

There is a certain connectivity that is established in the very first paragrah usually, (if it is a well written short story) that takes you through the entire life of the character within those few pages. It’s just that the conectivity has to be established. If it clicks, you know you’re going to like it.

Let me not be completely biased. We cannot rule out the fact that in some anthologies not all stories capture your heart. Some do leave you disappointed. But the pain is bearable, as against spending time and getting involved with a lengthy novel only to be disappointed towards the climax. The effort is futile.

Coming to the writing styles, I must say, both are equally hard.
A well defined beginning, a progressive plot and a convincing climax make up for a well structured story. Be it a short one or a mighty novel.

Where a novel gives you the freedom to elaborate and dive in to the depths of a scene and describe even the sharpness of a harmless pin, a short story needs to deliver the same feeling in a few crisp sentences (or words). Come to think of it, short story writing is more of a challenge. It has the constraints of time and space and words and characters. In those few pages, you have to engage the reader so much that (s)he understands the plot, relates and connects with the characters, and doesn’t lose interest till the last word. That’s when a short story is truly acknowledged.
A novel gives the writer the levy of spinning a beautiful and lavish yarn that the reader is comfortable reading for a few pages before proceeding to the next scene.

Loosely structured sentences, clumsy dialogues, weak descriptions not only repulse the reader but also the publisher. Which brings me to one of the very important points – finding a publisher.
No doubt you can self-publish your work. But it would not gain as much visibility in the market. Social networking sites might help you to a certain extent. But that’s all. Promotions on a few blogging sites, sharing it with friends, family and acquaintances and maybe a few random stumblers is all you’d be able to gather. If you do look at the commercial aspect, finding a good publisher would become one of the priorities.

No doubt, India still has a long way to go when it comes to publishing a short story collection or an anthology. For some reason, publishers prefer full length novels over short stories.
It is only recently that new publishers like Grey Oaks Publications are coming out with continuous series of anthologies, giving budding writers a fair chance. Bigger and renowned players likePenguin, Rupa, Cedar, etc. have opened up more with bigger brands organizing short story competitions that publish deserving stories. Recent offerings that I’ve really appreciated include Urban ShotsDown The RoadSome Of The Whole, etc.

Reading the works of Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Harper Lee, and other seasoned authors raise your expectations, no doubt, with the kind of presentation, plot and ideation they offered. Their style is what set them apart. And looking for such gratification today, I confess, is a bit difficult. It is a task. A tough one. Budding authors most give it an honest try, and we readers must appreciate the efforts.

Now, talking about full length novels, they aren’t all that easy either. Definitely more time consuming and involving. The plot needs to be reasonable enough to keep the reader hooked till the last page. A couple of main characters with a few minor characters; a main plot with sub-plots around it; ample amount of research; immense effort and patience; all sum up the process of a decent full length novel writing.
Also, length and quality are not synonyms. Quite a few times, an author, in the zeal to increase the word count ends up sacrificing the structure and quality of the plot.

Though getting a publisher is comparatively easy; and signing off as an author of a novel is more appealing than a short story writer, it is the quality that makes a novel a best seller.

Given a choice, I’d pick up a collection of short stories over a novel. To read as well as to write.

What about you- a short story collection or a full length novel?


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Book Review of “Down The Road” by Grey Oak Publishers

Down The Road

Edited by Ahmed Faiyaz and Rohini Kejriwal

Urban Shots set the ball rolling for Grey Oak Publishers I feel – in the shot story segment – especially in and for the Indian society.

Urban Shots was a major success and rightly so. And Down The Road is a good follow up.

Focusing on the main theme of campus fiction, the book has 28 short stories, contributed by 16 authors, edited by Ahmed Faiyaz and Rohini Kejriwal. All 28 short stories revolve around growing up years in schools, colleges, universities and also forays into adulthood.

Ahmed Faiyaz has contributed 9 stories, Rohini wrote 2, just like Ira Trivedi, Sneh Thakur, Paritosh Uttam and Malathi Jaikumar. The rest 10 authors have one story each. And they span the entire canvas of growing up years –from being in school, getting suspended for making trouble, harassing the teacher/professor, falling in love, falling in love with the teacher/professor, arranging illegal parties in hostel rooms, bunking college, getting ragged, falling in love, getting your heart broken, procuring a good placement, hanging out with friends, politics in college life, friendship, growing up, saying good-bye…oh the moments are unique and countless!

It’s a wonder how all the stories bring back a certain part of life we’ve lived carelessly. Looking back, those moments seem more loved than present life- thanks to Down The Road.

Quite a few contributing authors are first timers while most have shared and basked in the glory of Urban Shots.

Yes this one indeed is an exciting and eclectic collection of short stories that brings out all those memories – unforgettable, warm, thrilling, and at times embarrassing – of life in school and college campuses. High on emotions and sensitivity, all the authors have portrayed different styles, ideas and narration techniques.

My personal favorites include:

*The Music Room by Ira Trivedi – the emotions portrayed touch your heart.

*Welcome to St. Gibbs by Ahmed Faiyaz – a very relatable story, for most guys I’m sure!

*That’s It? by Sahil Khan – the thing about his stories is that they might not be as unique overall – but the endings – boy! Does he nail it or what! It’s usually the last para or the last line of his story that makes it shine. And leaves behind a smile.

*Call me biased but I do like Paritosh Uttam’s stories. Sororicide and Between Friends both of them are well crafted.

*An Accidental Start by Kunal Dhabalia has a wonderful concept and it instills the idea of reading and writing in us.

*Just A Moment by Nikhil Rajagopalan is very realistic.

*Remember Me? by Ahmed Faiyaz again is a good one.

*Bellow Yellow by Chinmayi Bali is very touching.

Then of course are the articles and essays that paint features of campus life in our lives.

Wait…am I almost jotting down all of them?!

Sorry. Can’t help it – they all are fantastic and readable.

This definitely goes up in my bookshelf along with Urban Shots – which can be read over and over again without losing any bit of their luster.

So for kids in schools / colleges and even us – workaholics who sometimes are unable to spare a moment from our busy lives to reminisce the ‘good old days’, Down The Road urges you to take a while off and bring back memories to cherish forever.

Enjoy it and treasure it.


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Author Interview – Sneh Thakur

From Kuwait to India via refugee camps; from being a Brand Manager and winning awards to now writing short stories by the beach and photographing the mountains, Sneh Thakur has lived quite an exciting life.

I got talking and digging for more about this beautiful, chirpy and multi-talented lady.

In a nut shell, tell us about Sneh Thakur.

I would best describe myself in 6 words as: Pint Sized Rapunzel. On a Cloud.

I’m 29 years old, born to a Rajput father and a Malyali mom – so dinner conversations were never dull! With 6 years of a career in FMCG under the belt in various leading FMCG companies in roles ranging from Sales, Business Intelligence, Innovation and Brand Management, I’ve travelled and explored India in a ‘real’ way which is one of the reasons why I love my job. My life-long loves have been of music that moves- U2, the lyrical quality of Jim Morrison and reading – A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry being my all time favorite.
Is it true that you made your way to India travelling across refugee camps? Looking back, is there an experience you’d like to share with us?

I was born in Kuwait and spent the first decade of my life there. When the Kuwait war broke out, the NRI community had to leave the country under difficult circumstances. It was at that point that my parents, who had every luxury in the world, had to bring me (then 11 years old) and my younger sister back to India. The journey involved travelling from Kuwait to Jordan on a long bus journey and camping as refugees in the deserts of Amman, Jordan till we got to safety and were flown into India. I believe in seeing the brighter side of life and remember an incident – it was midnight and the light from an innovatively created lamp (cottons wicks dipped in the remaining sardine oil from canned foods) lit the tent we were in and my sister and I spotted for the first time in our lives a Scorpion in the sand and almost picked it up. Thank god mom was close by! We all have a good laugh about “Deepti (my sister) and Sneh’s adventures in the desert” now.
We also read about you selling candy on the streets of Howrah. Could you elaborate that account?

My first assignment in the corporate world was as a Management Trainee for a major FMCG Confectionery company. I was based in Kolkata and as a trainee was expected to go through the learning ropes in Sales (due to which I am a better professional today). The first step involved starting from the scratch and seeing how “field sales” was done – so we could in time become better managers and leaders. This involved going to the market with boxes of candy and making sales calls – almost 55 to 60 shops a day. It was an amazing, tough experience but I must say that the shopkeepers in Howrah were very kind and generous and a smile was often enough to convince them!
Would you like to share, with your readers, your tryst with writing?

My tryst with writing started as a teenager when I’d keep a journal and play out with great drama my life, my friends and my angst at times! But in recent years I found myself turning to it very naturally as a form of self expression in blogging, notes, short stories, flash fiction and poems. In the corporate world you draft out oodles of memos and presentations every week, and I guess all the quick typing practice had to find a more creative outlet!
Tell us about your stories in “Down The Road”. What brought about the ideation?

I have written 2 stories in “Down the Road”. The first one is called “The Café with No Name” and is set in a Parsi café in Mumbai. When Ahmed Faiyaz of Grey Oak offered the opportunity for me to contribute, he mentioned that the tales had to have a campus connect. “The Café with no Name” is an off beat campus story revolving around the protagonist Dinshaw, a Parsi Café owner and the unlikely friendship that develops between him and a student who visits the café. As a student at SIBM, Pune I often used to travel in Pune and Mumbai for unique culinary experiences. This story is inspired by many a gastronomic delight!

The 2nd story “Fresher” is set in Indore and is about a spunky girl from Delhi who lands up there and her experiences in settling in to her new life from school to college, a different city, being a fresher and dealing with the challenges presented in a brave, resilient way. For me, this was an important story to tell as I know of many young kids from cities who end up going to smaller towns very different from their cocooned city life and getting bogged down by ‘seniors’ and ‘introduction sessions’. For me the ideation on this was to inspire young college goers to be who they are and not worry about the rest.
An exciting weekend for you would comprise…?

Since this is an fantasy question, I’m gonna have fun with it, so let me pick my favourites from all the cities I have lived, worked in:

A play with Naseeruddin Shah  at Prithvi Theatre, Lunch at one of Bandra’s world class restaurants; Endless conversations with friends; the rain in Delhi, the smell of the scented earth after and an evening walk at Lodhi Gardens, and perhaps a boat ride and barbeque in Muscat, Oman!
Read her stories in Down The Road and see the talent of this real Pint Sized Rapunzel. On a Cloud.

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In Conversation With Ahmed Faiyaz

Ahmed Faiyaz, Managing Director, Grey Oak Publishers and a prolific writer with a deep insight to relationships, as they exist today in the urban cities, shares his thoughts and views with BookChums.

Beginning with the mundane/clichéd question: When, where and how did the writing bug bite?
I’m not sure actually, to be honest. I guess being a voracious reader (as I am) is what pushed me towards writing in the first place. Back when I was 10 years old, I wrote an English composition for a unit test, a story where three friends and I ran away from home, roamed around the city and got back home at the end of the day as we were tired, had no money left, and thus had nothing to eat. My teacher who also happened to be our class teacher called me to the staff room and questioned me a lot about this little story. She believed it to be true though it was completely fictional. As a child I also made my younger brother dig up my grandparent’s garden telling him stories of little people who lived in a world beneath the garden. It was this little world I had created through stories and he believed me for a long time.

Your first book was “Love Life and all that jazz”. Would  you like to share your experience of writing that one? What brought about the ideation? How long did it  take to pen it?
I think it was a learning process for me as a writer. It is something  I believed in and enjoyed thoroughly. The story built up in my  head when I was living in Mumbai post my MBA and going through  the quarter life crisis – confused about relationships, career and  pretty much a lot of other things. The first draft took me a couple  of months to write, but by the time I got to the final draft it was a  year. The hardest part is editing your work and removing what  didn’t fit in. I had written over a 100,000 words and was edited  down to about 84,000 words.

Coming to your second book- “Another Chance” – the  story is predominantly about a female (Ruheen) and her  relationship with the men in her life. How difficult or  easy was it to think from a female’s perspective?
You’re right, Another Chance revolves around a female  protagonist and a lot of the story is written from her point of view.  I guess as a writer I am influenced by what I see around me, what I  read and of course cinema. I had to isolate myself and get into the  skin of the character, to think and react from her perspective.  Even some of the scenes where Aditya is in a pensive mood and is  dealing with heartbreak were difficult, but here I had some  experiences that I could relate to. Then again there’s a bit of  creativity we hope to tap on and wish that it works. It was difficult  to write some of those scenes in Another Chance. I was actually  apprehensive about some scenes I had written about Ruheen. I  had a couple of close friends, women of her age and income  background and another writer friend read these, and honestly  they completely loved these scenes and felt it was an accurate depiction of her state of mind.

People usually find it easier to pen their experiences. Was there an incident that inspired or provoked you to write “Another Chance”? How much time did it take to complete it?
Another Chance again was a story that built up over the years. The idea first came to me when I was sitting and sipping a cup of coffee in Amsterdam. I saw someone who looked strikingly similar to someone from my past, and I imagined what I would do then if it really was her. So I guess I let my imagination run wild and the story kind of evolved. Aditya’s love and pining for Ruheen is quite similar Pip’s love for Estella in Great Expectations and something like Jay’s love for Daisy in The Great Gatsby. I’m a big fan of the classics and I guess subconsciously that influences my writing, though I like to keep it contemporary and real.
It took me three months to write the first draft and six months to edit and fine tune.

We see both the books majorly focused on “relationships” and they definitely are “coming of age” as we say. Was this a conscious move (to write about relationships)? What is it about relationships that you, as an author, are trying to tell people?
I believe Love, life & all that jazz… was a slice of life coming of age story about these four youngsters and the people around them. It is about career, friendship and living your dreams for these characters and it is more than just about relationships. There are many fun filled moments in this book.
Another Chance is the morning after novel, it is my ode to love and life’s choices. Another Chance has more detail, it is fast paced and there is depth in characterization; it is more poetic and soulful and needed a well developed narrative style. Though different in their treatment, I believe both of them are quite visual and relatable in different ways.

How did you go about choosing Bruna Abdullah as the face of Ruheen?
I was sitting and sipping chai in the balcony of our hotel in Mussoorie. My wife and I were on holiday, a well deserved break after sending Another Chance out to my editor. Sunny Sara, a very good friend called and we got chatting about the book. I told him the story and explained how I wanted to get the cover right this time. I wasn’t too happy with the cover we did for Love, life & all that jazz’s 1st edition. He suggested that we get Bruna on the cover after hearing a short narration on Ruheen’s character. All thanks to him, she was onboard in July 2010 even before Grey Oak formally came into existence. It was nice working with Bruna; she’s a nice person and is someone I’m fond of. I had first met her at a friend’s wedding years ago when Sunny introduced me to her. I had no clue then that I would write a book and she would be on the cover. But the idea and the execution was Sunny’s idea and Nitin Patel’s too, the photographer.
In this age, we notice that professional and personal lives are messed up. What is it about our generation or work culture today that irks you the most?
I think what concerns me the most is many among us lack conviction in what we do and the lives we lead. We are submissive to material wants, pleasures and what society expects of us. The need to make an impression is only growing in our society. Look around you, celebrities who repeat a dress or a shirt are ridiculed and made fun of. Look at the number of magazines that talk about yachts, watches, first class travel and luxury cars. People are selling illusions and people are lapping it up. The guy or girl, working 14 hours a day in a job he/she hates but still does just to afford a certain lifestyle, is at the end of the day spending 2-3 hours on the road in a city like Bangalore or Mumbai. They splurge at an expensive lounge on weekends or end up paying a ridiculous amount to watch the latest movie. This is what most lives have become and it isn’t good. It affects everything – your health, relationships, equations with friends and family, and your state of mind. I’m glad I became a writer, today I’m close to a lot of people who aren’t a part of the rat race and who are doing what they believe in 100%.

Do we see a movie version of Another Chance in the making?
Inshallah! You know there’s so much interest, I’ve been contacted by quite a few people. I feel it is more easily adaptable to the big screen. I’m working on the screenplay now.

If you had to choose a celebrity to play the parts of Ruheen, Aditya and Varun – who all would you pick?
I would pick more than one person for each. For Ruheen I would say Bruna is a good option as she brings Ruheen to life on the cover. Chitrangda Singh, if this is a mainstream film. But Nauheed and Kainaz are equally compelling choices. They are strikingly beautiful women, they are wonderful human beings and more importantly two actors I’m fond of as they are dear friends. Ruheen has a very endearing character, she’s hopeful, she’s a fighter. She never gives up on life, she only emerges stronger. I see that whole positive spirit in Nauheed and Kainaz’s personality, it’s almost infectious and rubs off on people around them.
I think Aditya would be best played by Purab Kohli or Rahul Khanna, actors with a lot of range in their abilities and that knack to pull off the brooding underdog act.
Varun could be played by a lot of actors of our day and age. Maybe Sanjay Suri or Jimmy Shergill, both underrated actors who deserve to seen more on the screen. Neil Nitin Mukesh also has finesse and sophistication to pull this off. Unconventional choices but that’s how it’s always been for me.

Any aversions from critics (yet) that you did not expect?
With Another Chance it is too early to tell, no reviews have happened by the critics as yet. I guess one has to grin and deal with whatever the outcome is. All I can say is that it takes a lot to put yourself out there, a book is completely a writer’s baby, quite unlike a film where so many people are involved. So when people say they like my work it makes me grin like a fool all day and when they don’t, it isn’t a happy feeling. But as writers we’ve already put ourselves out there, and at the end of the day it’s a personal reaction. Its opinion and it differs from one to another.
With Love, life & all that jazz… I mostly got positive feedback and it made me extremely happy. The aversion of a few is well taken and in some cases is well deserved, they had a point and it only helps me introspect and grow as a writer which I did with Another Chance.

Certain books/authors usually leave an everlasting print in our memory. What book/author has had the most influence on you and your writing? What is your favorite genre when it comes to reading/writing?
I’ve been influenced by so many writers and so many books. Charles Dickens, F Scott Fitzgerald, Oscar Wilde, Hemingway, Hanif Khureshi, Haruki Murakami, Nick Hornby, James Frey and back home there is RK Narayan, Amitav Ghosh and Omair Ahmad. These authors are outstanding storytellers and extremely honest and passionate about their craft.
I read all kinds of books, from Fantasy Fiction for young adults to Inspirational stories and travelogues. I like reading about people and places that are far removed from the world that I’ve grown up in. I read very little Indian fiction and most of this is of the literary variety. Among the mass – market fiction variety I’ve only read my writer friends’ books in the past one year.

What next do we see from the desk of Ahmed Faiyaz?
There are two novels and a novella planned for the next couple of years. Also, a few short stories for anthologies planned by Grey Oak. A collection of my short stories is also on the horizon.

Could you also shed some light on Grey Oak Publishers and your role in the organization?
Grey Oak is a recently set up trade publisher, focused on Indian writing. Grey Oak’s primary focus is to publish mass-market paperback Indian fiction aimed at a general audience under the flagship – ‘Grey Oak’ imprint. Besides this, Grey Oak also aim to publish a limited list of titles under the ‘Silverfish’ imprint, targeted at young adults (12-17 age group) and a limited list of contemporary writing on travel, self-help, inspirational stories and biographies under the ‘Chiron’ imprint.
I wear the marketing hat in Grey Oak. My focus is on marketing, building and fostering trade relationships. My focus is to build a brand for Grey Oak as a reputed, quality publisher in India.

What is it that you like doing the most, apart from writing?
I love to travel. I’m happiest slacking off somewhere in the mountains or on a beach. I’m a movie buff and enjoy watching all kinds of films, a lot world cinema.

A few facts about “Ahmed Faiyaz -the person” and “Ahmed Faiyaz -the author” that you’d like to share with our readers.
The person loves to read, he’s very introverted and is truly known by a few among his friends and family. He hopes to do what he truly believes in and wants to give time and support causes he truly believes in. I want to retire at 40 and just write and do non – profit work focused on education and the environment.
The author hopes to grow and write stories on a broader canvas and about subjects he truly believes in. He loves to hear from his readers and obsessively replies to every email in 24 hours. His wife hates this habit and has secretly tried to destroy his BlackBerry. She was a strong supporter of banning BlackBerry services.

Contemporary authors in today’s time who you think are doing a good job?
There are so many of them. Some of them are of my generation and are dear friends – Omair Ahmad, Mridula Koshy, Amitabha Bagchi, Paritosh Uttam and Rikin Khamar. I think Karan has successful at going mainstream. Then there are Deepak Dalal, R Chandrasekar and Sujit Saraf as well who are doing very well as writers.

Your advice to budding writers would be?
Write what you truly believe in and focus on editing as this is the most important part of writing – it’s taking out what you’ve written and re-writing which takes a while to get used to. Also understand who the audience is and write from their perspective.

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Book Review of “Urban Shots”

Urban Shots

[28 (not 29) urban tales by 13 writers]

What a lovely anthology!

Urban Shots comprises 29 short stories by 13 writers (edited by Paritosh Uttam, who has also contributed 10 stories to the collection).

The stories revolve around relationships, in urban cities (metros), as they exist today. Relationships not just amongst youngsters but relationships shared by married couples, an old father and his son (and daughter-in-law), friends, colleagues, and people overall.

The stories talk about friendship, love, infidelity, hope, liberation, serendipity, angst, longing and a hoard of feelings that we sometimes don’t take time to notice. The best part is that you can read this book as per your convenience and not worry about dropping it mid-way to attend to other things.

So if you are travelling or waiting at the bus stop or sipping coffee alone – this book guarantees to be your best companion.

Paritosh’s stories are very crisp and brilliantly woven. They describe a certain instance or a day of a person’s life in a way that makes you visualize his/her (almost) entire life in a jiffy. I absolutely loved his writing.

Ahmed Fiyaz has contributed three stories and all of them are a breezy read. The simple day-to-day tone and language used by Ahmed make the instances very familiar and relatable.

Kainaz Motivala’s first published work of fiction – “Hope comes in small packages” is a very cute little story about a mother’s loss (of a child) and how she finds “hope”. Kainaz also is the face of Urban Shots.

Malathi Jaikumar’s story – “Liberation” – revolves around the life of an uneducated rural woman (from South India) married to a man who later moves to the city; she bears two children and faces the wrath of her drunk husband every weekend –and finally one fine day she finds her way out of the assault.

Her second offering, “Just average”, is about an otherwise average woman who shows extraordinary courage in a certain situation.

Bishwanath Gosh’s “Morning Showers” is a crisp tale about infidelity. Simple and well written. His second story “Women in Love” shows an almost precise picture of how women in love behave.

Abha Iyengar’s “Slow Rain” talks about a woman’s feelings of love and longing that have almost disappeared from her married life and her friendship with another man.
Prateek Gupta’s “Apple Pies and a Grey Sweater” revolves around love and friendship just like Kunal Dhabalia’s “Love All” but his “Driving Down the Memory Lane” treads the fine line of infidelity.

Sahil Khan’s “The Untouched Guitar” is extremely refreshing. Though what feels like a regular story told by a youngster recalling life through college years – the last line is what brought a smile to my face. And if I may add – it’s Kick A** !!!

Vrinda Baliga’s “Stick Figures” is a very touching tale and so is “Dialects of Silence” that peeps into the life of an Indian woman.

Rikin Khamar’s “The House in Alibagh” is a bit mystical and different from the rest.

Naman Saraiya’s “Trial and Error” makes up for a quick yet engaging read.

This collection of part-fiction-part-real stories makes up for a great start by Grey Oak Publishers. The new young-age writers have shown a knack of keen observation of human tendencies and behavior in today’s fast-paced life, especially in the metros. We no longer think twice before indulging in extra marital affairs or living in the fast lane where loving someone a moment ago and dumping them the next doesn’t really bother us. Instant gratification is what rules our behavior and preferences nowadays. Emotional attachments barely exist.

Reading this book made me wonder about the sea-change in perception we have undergone in the recent years. Aren’t we somewhere down the line losing the real essence of words like – love, sacrifice, marriage…?

We are not the ones to judge a certain thing as “right” or “wrong”. What appeals to us in a certain moment is what we indulge in. No time for deeper thoughts – or the consequences that follow.

Maybe this is the way of life for most of us. No wonder thirteen writers have penned similar feelings in their work (!!!)

Overall, a great attempt and a good read. I highly recommend this one.

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Book Review of “Some Of The Whole” By Abhijit Bhattacharya

Some of The Whole

By Abhijit Bhattacharya

Now here’s something I’ve loved – a unique offering from a new-age writer.

Some Of The Whole by Abhijit Bhattacharya comprises ten short stories about different people at the airport lounge, awaiting their flight. Their present situation marks the beginning of the flashback that the author seamlessly draws you into and ends each tale with a twist that is sure to leave you gaping. And how! Very contemporary in approach, the chapters are named after popular songs – another reason that makes you turn the pages and read ahead.

The characters are identifiable and the story plots are absolutely gripping. Must confess, it feels great to lay hands on such unique and interesting short stories that are relatable, exciting, engaging and interrelated in a surprisingly stupendous way. I guess we all have had enough of college campus fiction that tells the tale of IIMs, IITs, and other colleges or streams. Some Of The Whole comes as a refreshing breath of fresh air, for the mind at least!

We are introduced to about seven people at the airport lounge and the way the ten stories are connected is utterly fabulous. The language is simple and free-flowing.  It barely takes about an hour or so to wrap it up. The urban setting of the stories and the protagonists reflect the very picture of our metro cities.  I’d surely recommend this as a quick and a good read.

Abhijit Bhattacharya comes across as a brilliant story-teller. He shows great promise and incredible potential and I for one eagerly await his next offering.


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Book Review- “Ford County” by John Grisham

Ford County

By John Grisham

You have to agree that John Grisham is a master storyteller, penning mesmerizing tales that make for a good Sunday afternoon read.

Ford County comprises seven short stories- all highly captivating without an overdose of sex, violence but simple mysteries and puzzles that leave the reader utterly satisfied by the end of it all.

His style of writing, though, regular and weird at times, has a subtle charm to it, making it a page turner. He characters are real, sympathetic, compelling, warm, witty and pretty much relatable. 


The common themes and plots are intriguing and believable. Overall, his sense of observation is commendable. Very fine details, that generally are taken for granted by readers and writers alike, are beautifully depicted by Grisham.

The stories – “Fetching Raymond”, “Michael’s Room”, “Quiet Haven”, “Fish Files”, “Casino”, “Funny Boy”, “Blood Drive” – all set in rural Mississippi, bring in a very different feeling with each read. It sparks hidden human emotions enriching the human spirit. They grab attention and keep you hooked on until the last page.

The stories make for an easy read. They are brilliantly engaging and give us a taste of Grisham’s renowned thrillers.

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