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ImageUrban Shots, a compilation of 29 stories written by 21 writers. The writers are varied, a mix of popular writers such as Paritosh Uttam, R. Chandrashekar, Malathi Jaikumar, Ahmed Faiyaz and a number of popular bloggers and debutante writers.

Please don’t plunge in to the book right away. Read the foreword. It’s important because, in that Naman Saraiya tells us to give breathing space in between stories. It is important because each story makes you think and it is important to grasp in fully before you move on to the next intriguing one. Each story leaves you wondering, some of them ends abruptly. Some of the stories might need another read.

My top five picks out of the 21 stories would be

  1. Father of my son – Roshan Radhakrishnan
  2. Amul – Arvind Chandrasekhar
  3. The Pig in a Poke – Mydhili Varma
  4. Jo Dikhta Hai, Who Bikta Hai – Sneh Thakur
  5. Hot Pants – Arefa Tehsin

Most of the stories make for a breezy and fun read. All the stories has characters that you meet in everyday life, urban settings that you cope up with every day, situations that you might yourself have been in at times.

The book has an easy narrative, but the plot of each story is different with a dose of surprise which makes it a delight to read.

Read it story by story, line by line. Take in the characters, story and the end.

Amul, the first story in the book leaves you misty eyed. Amul is a story about a mathematics loving kid who has lost her mother. She narrates her everyday life and the climax is sure to make you feel depressed.

Silk is a wonderful story of a con man who buys expensive gifts for married women. The story ends by asking the reader ‘Have you ever felt like Silk?’ Now try answering that.

Across the Seas is a lovely story of a loving mother who misses her son working abroad.

Albama to Wyoming, written by Paritosh Uttam makes you feel dejected. The story is about a Indian Kid who can name every American City and in Alphabetical Order.

Double Mixed is a story about extra marital affairs with a rather amusing finish.

Good Morning Nikhil is the story that makes you go awwww.

Maami Menace is a cute story in its way. It’s about a maami who has the cure for every ailment on earth.

The Peacock Cut is about a sportsman with a peacock cut. There is not much you can take away from this one. I read it twice (because I could not make anything of it) and didn’t quite enjoy it.

Father of my Son is easily the best story. The timing of the humor in the story is perfect and leaves you laughing loud.

The Bengal Tigress is a rather dull story and seems like filler.

P.K. Koshy’s Daily Routine is an amazing story about a retiree. This one both makes you laugh and sad.

Mr. Perriera is that story that you would have happened in your neighborhood. The characterization is brilliant and deserves a mention.

The Wall is a story about a banker undergoing mid life crisis. It basically asks you if you ve hit the wall!

Jo Dikhta Hai who Bikta hai has that kind of a setting that could have happened to you. Lovely story with a lot of hope.

Then interview is a Bollywood story and offers very little. Paisley Printed Memories is a beautiful story on someone suffering from Alzheimer’s disease and Heaven and Hell is about a philosophical Mehendiwalla who brings you to reality. Cats and Sponges is an out and out corporate story, one which you will thoroughly enjoy reading.

You Eternal Beauty is set in Kolkata and delves deep in to the richness of the city. The Window Seat is our everyday story, a situation that you may come across when you take a bus, cab, train, flight.

It’s all good is again in a corporate setting and makes you wonder about how unpredictable life really is.

The Pig In a Poke is a cute email exchange between a teenage kid and a conman. Ready, Jet Set Go is a story on a to be publisher and puts a smile on your face. Things that could happen in a park is well about things that could happen in a park.

Hot Masala is surreal. Set in a park and the story really gives you an insight on how people behave in different circumstances. The Rain Coat makes you feel sad but there is hope at the end of it. The weeping girl is about how a girl steals phones! Hot Pants is that thing which could happen when you walk home from the station, late in the night. But this one makes you laugh!

This review is a part of the Book Reviews Program at Participate now to get free books!

Book: Resident Dormitus
Author: Vikas Rathi
Number of pages: 196
Price: 195

Let me first put this straight across before I go in to the review: Resident Dormitus is that kind of a book that makes you think and deep. The focus is intense and it really makes you wonder what you want from life.

Resident Dormitus is a book that delves on previously unchartered territory – lives of young professionals and the changing psyches. The book explores in to the theme of existentialism, a theme which not many Indian authors have written about.

The protagonist of the book is Achet, who hails from a small town and ends up with a job in Mumbai. Achet, (peculiar sounding name (you’ve got to really read the book to know its different meaning) then travels around to Singapore and other places on work and meets interesting people. The book revolves around four other characters; Dev, Arjuna, Alex and Bala. The author does give in short yet interesting snippets in to their life. The lives of five colleagues are interwoven so well that it doesn’t even run in to five different stories.

His corporate life takes him to different places and at every stage; every instance Achet wonders how it influences his life and thinking. Some of the paragraphs in the book might require you to read it twice or thrice to completely grasp the message from it. Overall it makes you think.

Resident Dormitus is also the kind of book which is light hearted as well as intense. It totally depends on the reader. And of course, you wont put it down till you are done with it.

The most important twist in the story comes when Dev commits suicide. The scene has been depicted so well that it makes you think on an entirely new parallel. Young professionals ought to read this book as it depicts how youngsters go through a crisis as they step in to the corporate world.

The book made me think deep and these are the words I put down once I read it:
I asked myself ‘Who am I?’ and when I really thought on it I realized how all of us face a identity crisis. The answer to this question may differ at various stages in life depending on what you are going through. Who you are is basically a culmination of your feelings, ambitions, hopes, fears and characteristics.

Vikas Rathi is definitely a refreshing change with authors popping up in every city and every day! The fact that he writes on a new theme and the fact that the characters in the book are not stereotypes score brownie points.

The writing is brilliant and extraordinary in parts. Give this book a read.
Rating: 3.5/5
To know more about this book and the author:

This review is a part of the Book Reviews Program at Participate now to get free books!

Book: Ineligible bachelors
Author: Ruchita Mishra
Page Numbers: 250 odd
Price: 195

Ineligible bachelors is that kind of book to which you may not even give a second glance, if you happen to see it at a bookstore
When this book came up in the Blogadda’s review program, I gave it a second thought and applied to review. I was surprised when I received the book. 250 pages, which means 4 hours, which means one sitting
‘Ineligible bachelors’ makes for a breezy read. In fact even a 5th grade kid could read it at ease. This must be the only book where I dint have to pick a dictionary to find the meaning of a particular word. The content could have easily done with more quality. Frankly the quality was just plain depressing. The major plus point of the book is its pace. The story never slows down. The fact that the author cut down most of the unnecessary description may suggest that she wanted to keep the book short.

Another major put off was the Diary mode used in the book. The book definitely doesn’t read like a diary with the gazillion conversations it holds. It could have just been a story? Why the clichéd diary-like short story book?

As far as the story is concerned, it’s a predictable and most-oft used formula used in Bollywood. At one point, I started wondering if the book was a remake of a bollywood movie.

The sotry goes like this: Kasturi, a 24 year old management professional lands a job in a big telecom company. She moves to Delhi for work. Meanwhile her mother keeps fixing dates for her daughter with ‘(in)eligible bachelors’. She keeps meeting one by one, mainly because she cant fight her mom’s drama and theatrics. She falls in love with her boss, Rajeev Sir who is also in love with her. Her friend, Ananya is hit by an auto one day. Dr. Purva Dixit (who is one of the guys Kasturi’s mom sees for Kasturi) brings Ananya back to feet. Apparently the auto guy belongs to some mafia group. So when kasturi gave a sketch to the police to track him down, they corner her one day and beat her up. Dr. Purva Dixit saves Kasturi in totally bollywood style. Meanwhile Ananya is in love with Pita Ji (Amay) who is one of the guys Kasturi’s mom sees for Kasturi. Kastrui is only glad that Pita Ji is out of her way. Ananya, Pita Ji and Varun discover that Rajeev is cheating on Kasturi. They somehow let her know of that. Katuri breaks up with Rajeev.Kasturi realizes she is in love with Dr. Purva Dixit. And they live happily ever after.

This is a book you can afford to miss! I would have liked this story if I had read it in 8th grade! I would not say this is a great ‘debut’ book!

Rating: 2/5

This review is a part of the Book Reviews Program at Participate now to get free books!

Book: Chanakya’s chant

Author: Ashwin Sanghi

Price: Rs. 195

Number of pages: 443

Life has been hectic ever since I moved to Mumbai. I have not read a book for the past three months. That’s so not me. Marriage, shifting cities, finding a new job, interviews etc etc were priorities and the books I carried all the way from Madras were safely locked in a suitcase. It is certainly difficult for a person who is addicted to reading and manages to read over five books a month. Hence you can imagine the delight when I was selected to be a part of the book review contest by Blogadda. I was even more delighted to receive Chanakya’s Chant because I was looking forward to read this book for long.

Chanakya’s chant has two plots that are interwoven. One set in 340 BC and another one 2300 years later. The book gives an in-depth insight in to how Chanakya dethrones Dhananada, saves Bharat from Alexander and installs Chandragupta on the throne of the Mauryan Empire.

Another fictional story that runs in parallel is that of Pandit Gangasagar Mishra, who leaves no stones unturned in installing Chandni Gupta, a slum child as the prime minister ofIndia. Not only that but this Chandni Gupta also manages to serveIndiain the capacity of Prime Minister for three terms.

What made me cringe though was how Chandragupta was simply reduced to a Puppet. It may be acceptable in the case with Chandini Gupta but not so much with Chandragupta. Of course all of us have learnt that Chanakya was Chandragupta’s teacher, but it is ridiculous to suggest that Chandragupta had no role to play in it.

Another major cringe worthy aspect in the book was the generous usage of famous quotes from ‘Yes Minister and Yes Prime Minister, quotes of Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, Mark Twain, Winston Churchill, Napolean Bonaparte, Oscar Wilde etc. Imagine Chanakya conversing in these quotes. We say Chankaya penned down Arthashastra, so how does the use of such quotes justify the legend that Chanakya was. This was a major major put off.

The liberal use of words like Bastard, cuntface, arsewipe, fucking puts a frown to your face! More so for a story set in the BC. You certainly don’t want to read ‘fucking’ four times in a fucking sentence.

I was glad that Pandit Gangasagar’s story made a more interesting read than that of Chanakya’s. This reflects the story telling ability of the author.

It was interesting how the author has interwoven the two stories. It certainly makes for a page turning and riveting read. I particularly liked the pen ultimate chapter where the author brings in the Shakti triumphs Shiva factor.

The characterization though brilliant was too one dimensional in both the plots. Chanakya and Gangasagar have been portrayed as the ultimate intellect to have been born on earth and everyone surrounding these characters is a bunch of fools who never seem to understand what’s going on in their master’s mind. Consider this, if Chandni Gupta could have served as Prime Minister for three full terms, how she could be as dumb as it has been depicted, barring her stage skills.

Gangasagar Mishra’s plot gets 1.5 points and the interweaving of the plot gets one

This one is worth a read!

Rating 2.5/5

This review is a part of the Book Reviews Program at Participate now to get free books!