Book, Reviews

Chronicles of Urban Nomads – literary review

The Chronicles of Urban Nomads is a collection of short stories written by various authors selected through a nationwide hunt by Readomania. Sutapa Basu has excelled herself in editing the short story anthology. Her expertise in the field of editing has helped her wear the mantle of editor in an easy and honourable way.

The book is divided into two sections namely Imagine and Musings. Imagine deals with stories that are narrated by abstract objects whereas Musings is stories in regular format written in an imaginative and compelling manner.

Though written by authors of varying age groups and different backgrounds, one common thread that unites all the stories is the strong sense of ethics and Indianness. Almost all stories deal with issues related to the society and reflect the yearnings of the authors. Read on to know more.

Imagine

The Chronicles of Urban Nomads opens with a caressing tale of love woven with silken threads of a Benarasi Sari. To think that Confessions of a Benarasi Sari might interest only the fairer gender would be a sacrilege, for this story deals not only with the mesmerizing beauty of a Sari, but also about the various obstacles one faces in an Indian society. Ayan Pal’s Sari cloaks you through a maze of emotions and Indianness aptly expressed through eloquent words. The strength of Ayan Pal clearly lies in his use of words that slide and glide over pot holes with ease, making one savor the aroma long after the end of a feast.

The Blue Slippers is a contrast from the light – hearted stories floating around these days. This tale digs deep into the darker side of the society and reminds one of the stark realities of life. Kirthi Jayakumar has portrayed the sufferings – frequent in India and elsewhere, effectively through the eyes of a camera. Kirthi’s forte is certainly the pathos expressed subtly, that pains your heart and makes you to pause reading and ponder.

The old man with the long ear lobes dressed in his pyjamas remains firmly etched in your mental vision. So vivid is the depiction of the man by Ashay Abbhi that one can see the character in any old person one chances to look at in the streets.  The mentality of an old man living alone has been described in words that never fail to make the readers understand the emotions necessary to make the story a complete one. Ashay’s The Wait should not be kept waiting.

My Soulmate is a fast moving story that voices the author’s concern for the nation’s youth. Janneker Lawrence Daniel’s strength lies in the creation of powerful and believable characters that remain inside your head. The fickle-mindedness of teenagers is poignantly brought out in the story. The desire to know the identity of the narrator burns you as you read, but the author has skillfully maintained the suspense till the end with his language skills. The initial chase and the racy end to the climax are enough to keep one’s eyes glued to the book.

The Masterpiece by Rounak Nayak is certainly a masterpiece. Rounak’s diary unfolds the story of a couple destined to love each other under different circumstances. The story takes us through the ups and downs of the leading couple. The author excels in giving life to the diary in the shop – the diary that is the narrator. One could almost smell the dust on the diary as it kept waiting for the protagonist to lay his hand on it.

Everyone is involved in a war at all times. One’s heart and mind are always at loggerheads. That is exactly the crux of A Vicious Battle. But, what a battle the reader is to witness when he/she reads this story! The jabs and hooks in the first paragraph alert you as to what to expect further. Aravind Sampath’s definition of love is not lost on the audience as the powerful story dazes you with its speed. Look out for yourself when you read the next work of Aravind. He just might surprise you with a left hook.

Purnima Verma transports you to the battle field and the turmoil faced by the family members of the armed forces. The guns blaze around you and the tanks shell mercilessly, while back home, relatives huddle in front of televisions fearfully for the outcome of war, fearing the worst, but hoping for the best. The love between a soldier and his love is expressed beautifully. An Engagement Ring is not just an engagement ring, but a ring of magical words enthralling the readers.

A Little Nugget of Fear has nothing little about it anywhere. Deepti Menon’s work is brilliant enough to remind us of the magnificence of R. K. Narayan. Does the astrologer tell the truth or is Supriya bound by her mind’s inability to think out of the fearsome atmosphere in which she was brought up? Deepti’s creation is the Indian society brought to you in a platter, with each dish dealing with a different issue so prevalent currently. Her strength is the choice of words.

Bhaswar Mukherjee’s EFIL is a tremendous undertaking for any writer. But he has carried the story effortlessly in all areas. Bhaswar’s knowledge of history and his language skills definitely give an edge to his writings. The reader cannot but resist the urge to talk to an inanimate object, expecting it to reply. The story makes one’s desire to visit the Burj increase manifold.

Musings

The Last Letter is a heart wrenching story that moistens your eyes when you read. The deep love between the father and the child and the pathetic condition in which they are left are enough to melt a heart of stone. Dipankar Mukherjee’s forte is certainly the portrayal of emotions effectively. The words used are apt and show a particular aspect of the Indian society.

The Face on the Canvas by Pradeep Moitra is startlingly new in its approach. The rustic landscape of India, its beauty and the behavior of people living in the hills tumble out through the pen of Pradeep. The dialogues in the story speak of strong Indian values and the compassion and hospitality of Indians. The character of Prabhudayal is quite unique in its creation. Pradeep paints the Indian scenario effectively in this story.

Japneet Boyal’s Arranged Marriage takes you through the busy streets of Delhi and showcases the immense love Japneet has for the city. Life in New York is explained well enough for the readers to experience the gay climate when they read the story. The emotions surging through and between the couple are wrought forth without compromising on the language front. Japneet has created a climax that is enjoyable.

Jagadish Nadanalli’s story will have you in splits of laughter and tears. Bachelor and Baby is a sweet tale of the blossom of innocent love between a bachelor and a small girl. The pranks of the children in the apartment, the reprimands of the parents and the innocence of Baby makes one shuffle between mirth and sorrow. Scenes that bring to light unfair treatment meted out to bachelors in India are eye-openers. Jagadish has ended the story in a light vein, making the reader breathe easy.

Rahul Biswas has portrayed one side of the corporate world that is often called evil. Hopes and Promises deals with the temptations one could possibly undergo in an office when thrown into one another’s paths. The dangers of proximity, its consequences and the able methods employed by the characters to come out of it make this story a good read. Rahul’s language skill is certainly desirable and makes this story pleasing to be read.

Shravya Gunipudi’s A Shackled Destiny definitely has the destiny of shackling the readers with its unforgettable characters and storyline. Shravya has sketched the image of a mother in love accurately. The old woman just refuses to get away from your head. The words used to express the love and affection for her son makes one’s eyes misty. Shravya’s strength is her defining characters.

Rendezvous by Shloka Shankar is an ordinary tale made extra-ordinary by her powerful narration. The scene described in the story could have happened in anyone’s life. Yet, the thoughts and ideas expressed by the pair in the story and the issues concerning relationships dealt in the story make this an interesting read. It is the author’s skill that has brought out the story well.

Niranjan Navalgund’s characters play a game of hide, search and find in Hide and Seek. The idea used by the author is novel and the inclusion of poem by one of the characters brings out Niranjan’s interest and skill in poetry. Leaving about clues and hints makes this story to border ever so lightly on the mystery genre.

Mandira by Anupama Jain brings out into the open the traumatizing experience of a small girl, her detachment from family, her studies, her affair as a young doctor, her realization of her action and consequences. Human relationship has been explained without a hitch by Anupama. Her language skills make one understand vividly, the inner turmoil of Mandira, the leading character.

Finding Mia by Roopa Raveendran Menon deals with the conflict inside the head of Mina. Roopa’s characters are depicted in a unique way, making the reader visualize Mia and Mina. The narration of love in the family and the pain in the eyes and behavior of the parents are areas in which the author moves effortlessly. The banyan tree and the mansion give you the creeps. Roopa’s strength is her ability to shift emotions.

The Chronicles of Urban Nomads is a book that is not to be missed. True, there are innumerable anthologies cramming the market. However, COUN stands out for the multitude of emotions, issues, cultures and genres brought in a single book. And that is a treasure worth its weight in gold!

 Rating: 4.5/5

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