Literary Review – The Legend of Genghis Khan

The Legend of Genghis Khan

 

The world has been enthralled, saddened and angered by many people, of varying professions and nationalities. But there are people who have had the courage, conviction and the persona to make the world go on its knees, to cower down before them and to quiver with fear at their names. A handful of people, not more! One such towering personality is Genghis Khan, a name that resonates with power and brings about horses, arrows and brutality to one’s minds. A name synonymous with absolute power!

When history is being read by us or studied by us, we rarely tend to observe the details, especially when the mentioned part is something that we’ve read often. It becomes news to us. Sutapa Basu, in collaboration with Readomania has taken pains to bring alive before us in The Legend of Genghis Khan, the details we missed while studying the history of the world, especially about a part of the world far from our motherland.

The novel starts with a brutal raid by the army of Genghis Khan on a settlement. As expected, the raid is swift, merciless, mindlessly cruel, ferocious and partly successful. The Khan himself is not part of the raid. But what he gains from the raid is something he never bargained for!

The novel moves ahead in two time frames, giving the readers a clear picture of the legend that the Khan had carved for himself from being the fledgling that he was. The author’s efforts in doing her research for the novel is evident from the names of places, their descriptions, the culture of the Mongols, the names of various weapons used for siege warfare, the Mongolian way of addressing people and so on.

What strikes the readers in its peculiarity is the other side of Genghis Khan, the Mongolian leader. Only the most studious historian would know that, the Khan, though illiterate, encouraged his subjects to learn Writing. Important events were recorded for posterity. Shigi, the adopted brother of Genghis Khan comes about as a fearsome warrior, giant in stature, but also surprisingly genial and literate. His war scarred hands pursue writing the achievements of Genghis Khan in their free time. The Khan offered equality to women; something that was unheard or even thought of in those times. And to see that emerging from the barbaric mind of the Mongol was a shock to the entire population of the earth that heard of or knew him. Another seemingly impossible trait of him was his tolerance to other religions. This was not deemed possible in his time, but he did it. And it played a big role in strengthening his kingdom. The most important aspect of his quickly strengthened kingdom was the way in which the Khan allowed people to rise to power based on their merit and not their tribe. This enlarged his followers and made them stick with him, no matter what.

Sutapa Basu has cleverly gathered all information and wrought about a novel that whiffs with the scents of Mongolian steppes and freshly groomed horses. She also makes the readers feel the cold wind biting into the characters of the novel and sometimes into themselves. The image of the ger visualized by the readers is a testimony to the descriptive ability of the author. The hunt that Temujin has with his father, the taking of the food from the rival clan, the feeling of abandonment, the cause of having to fend for himself and his family, the feral instinct that needles him to commit an atrocious act within the family and the humble manner in which he accepts the reprimand from his mother are portrayed perfectly by Sutapa Basu. She excels as an author who brings out the inner feelings of the characters and makes the readers feel part of the novel. Relationships are etched in our minds through this Readomanian tale.

Having brought all these qualities of Genghis Khan and his childhood, the author does not fail to talk about the notoriety the Mongol was and is known throughout the world for; his cruelty. The raid on Malikpur is an example. A child is thrown in the air and speared as it comes down, making the mother faint and the readers gasp involuntarily. The sacking of cities is another example, where in a city, getting tired of his soldiers killing civilians one by one, Genghis Khan grabs hold of five prisoners by their hair, swings his sword in a butchering arc and kills all five, eliciting cheers from his soldiers and setting them a model they use in all further post warfare killing rituals. A frightening spectacle indeed!

Genghis Khan is brutal and utterly without mercy when a city resists him. He seethes with fury when he is ridiculed, humiliated or betrayed. And the revenge is swift and terrible. The Emperor of Xi Xia, Xian bears the brunt of the folly committed by his predecessors. The readers are not prepared for the sudden violence that descends upon the Emperor and his retinue. The peaceful and serene landscape is turned into a bloody and squishy terrain filled with human fat, blood and the stench of death. Sutapa Basu swings from one scene to the other with equal ease, meandering through the cunning, wicked, warring, strategic, cruel, gentle, loving and kind phases of the Mongol Khan tirelessly.

Though there are some novels describing the life history of Genghis Khan, this novel by Sutapa Basu is like the delicious fruit hidden deep inside a pudding, offering glimpses into the Mongol’s life from different perspectives. Readomania has added to its kitty another book that screams to be read, right from its book cover to the last chapter. Since the book is from an author of erudite background and a publishing company of repute, the Language style and the impeccability of the grammar used is beyond reproach. Books on historical fiction always pique the curiosity of readers, and this has not disappointed. Those who know of Genghis Khan as only a cruel and barbaric leader will learn other aspects of him that might cause a ray of light to shine upon his usually tinted features. Sutapa Basu is going from strength to strength with each of her novels, making us pine for more.

 

 

Shadow in the Mirror – Literary Review

When was the last time you had goosebumps due to a moment of trepidation? The first glance at the cover of Shadow in the Mirror gives one the shivers. The foreboding face staring menacingly from the darkish blue front cover of the novel is enough to make a still mind quake, and stop with a screeching halt, the wavering mind. The title doesn’t help either. It adds to the eerie feeling. Not to mention the malevolence behind the eyes… those eyes.

The first chapter doesn’t disappoint… not one bit. The plunge into the abyss is horrific and heart-wrenching. Nita, a pregnant girl, falls from the balcony of her apartment in Bangalore. This is the background of the novel, and the stage couldn’t have been set better.

The novel is set mainly amidst the bustling city of Bangalore and yet travels along the sleepy hamlets of Kerala, allowing a whiff of coconut trees on a rainy day. The move to Kerala is a welcome one, as it takes the reader away from the gruesome death and its evil-eyed aura hovering just above the surface, waiting to overpower the reader any moment.

Shadow in the Mirror takes readers across a whirlwind of emotions, as the novel starts shaping itself through threads of small stories of different people. The main characters etch themselves firmly in the minds of the readers, baring their very souls. The difference in characterization among the leading people of the novel is by a good margin and there are no similarities leading to awkward misunderstandings.

The relationship between Krish and Nita is overwhelmingly innocent and dripping with love and affection for each other. Deepti Menon has intricately weaved a bond here that delves deep into the psychology of a Man and a Woman, their understanding of each other and their sacrifice for each other in their career and everyday affairs.

Kavitha is a character drawn from the waters of a torrential stream. The Dr. Jekyll and Hyde – sort of characterization is not a joke. Deepti Menon has pulled it off with elan! One moment the reader sympathizes with Kavitha, whereas the next moment fingers twitch, desirous of strangling her.

Eshwar and Sudha would never be forgotten by any reader, for the sheer ferocity of the husband and wife love that melts the reader. Eshwar is the epitome of a doting husband and a responsible father, as Sudha stands by him in every possible way. Sudha’s character is like that of an immovable mountain. Sorrow assails her unawares. She stands tall – breaking asunder the traditional hold that the society expects.

The novel is pleasantly guilty of sub-plots that the author has tastefully reworked from her life and that of her acquaintances. This has given a personal touch to the novel, making it a hybrography (Pardon the licence).

Deepti Menon’s mastery of the Language is evident from the first chapter. The reader is forced to stop reading the novel at times and give a wistful smile, giving way to reminiscences. Literary flavor abounds in the novel, the syntax of the Language exploited to the maximum by the author. The choice of words, the exclamatory endings, the casual reference to other literary works of art, the use of metaphors… all point to one thing – the ‘well-read’ personality of Deepti Menon. Each chapter has a point of delight for a connoisseur of the English Language. A rare phenomenon or should one call it PenOhMenon!

Verdict

Readomania has added a feather to its cap by publishing Shadow in the Mirror. The novel gives importance to women, gives credence to the independence of women and at the same time brings out the infallibility of women. The author has tastefully polished the novel from a maze of small stories which invariably find their way into the mainstream, delighting and scaring the reader alternately along the way. Emotions warring in the minds of the readers can’t but wonder what’s next in offing from Deepti Menon.

The Inevitable – literary review

Literary Review of The Inevitable

Regulars at eateries and restaurants would savor each dish kept in front of them and never rush into gulping down any delicacy, for the usual visitors are lovers of food habitually attracted to a café by the aroma or the mouth watering taste of the delicious food prepared. Many a quality restaurant serve starters that ignite hunger in a staid stomach, whereas there are some starters that take hunger away from your growling tummy, tossing aside in the process, the desire to dine in a café ever again. The Inevitable is a collection of exotic delicacies spread before on a big table. There are starters, the main menu, side dishes and desserts. The Inevitable café differs from all other such establishments around the world in one way. Your stomach is satisfied with the well thought-out, spontaneous preparation of the starter before each main menu. Your mouth craves for the taste to linger in its mouth and your stomach hastily opens its entrails longing for the tasty morsels to come gushing in. The beauty of the poems acting as starters takes your breath away. You never want to move on, afraid that, the main menu, the side dishes and the tantalizing desserts with the ‘take me now’ look might not perhaps live up to the tasty reputation of the starter coursing down your throat now. Oh boy! Can you be more at fault than this?

That the poetic starters were penned down by Ashay Abbhi in moments of extreme pain is evident by the emotions seeping in between the lines. The aura of death encompassing the poems reminds you of Emily Dickinson’s works. Something there is in Ashay that endears him to death and its characteristics. May be, though you cannot be sure, it is the inevitability of death that propels Ashay to dwell so much on a topic everyone fears, and none dares to venture carefree. The finality of human life is painted in each of the poems either candidly or subtly. Is Ashay Abbhi then, a poet who has lost positive outlook towards life? Is he a pessimistic poet filled with hate, darkness and bile? Definitely not… For under the dark sky through the dark atmosphere surrounding his poems comes forth a piercing light brightening the sullen atmosphere – the main dishes that carry rays of hope for the lost mankind, his stories.

The stories of Ashay Abbhi expose you to the various places that the author has travelled. One can find the entire India ensconced within all his stories. He takes you to all the corners of the country and in fact, you get a chance to visit Africa too. The language of the author deserves a special mention. He mingles and connects with the reader in an effortless manner. When writing with words unheard of and unused usually seems to the order of the day for many budding writers, Ashay has travelled with the experience of a veteran, bringing to the reader the ideas of a modern young man. That is a feat to be applauded! The emotions are strong, with some hitting you right in the face with their brutal frankness. You long for the protagonists, willing yourself to stop yourself from silently mouthing words of comfort to them. Such is the power of the man’s writing.

Imagine

I have taken the liberty of using Imagine as the title for the introductory poem for which I beg the forgiveness of Ashay Abbhi. Imagination is a gift that sustains human beings. Each imagines things in a different way in his/her own capacity. Who has not imagined? As mentioned earlier, the starter gets you imagining. For imagine you must death, to live until gives wings to your imagination making you soar into the sky.

The 9th Cross

This poem depicts the confusion a just – created spectre has as it travels in search of belonging to someplace, someone… to be comfortable and be loved. The poet has left clues hanging in the poem to guide the reader into the maze of the spectre. A brilliant insight indeed!

The Yellow Wall

You are treated to a serene surrounding as you start this story. The magnificence of Himalayas humbles you as your train goes chugging along windy tracks. As you get down, a sense of curiosity comes out that deepens into a feeling of certainty and horror. The tonga-wallah cannot be forgotten easily. Who is he in reality? It is for you to interpret.

The search for love

The meaning of the poem is clearly but cleverly written to make the readers understand the inner meaning of love. Religion has been used to infuse the meaning lucidly. The language content has been considerably raised in this poem to lend quality to the poem.

Love for Tea

Ashay Abbhi brings out the power of love through this story. The end leaves you in tears. The sacrifice made by the couple through the years, each for the other, is heart-breaking and tear-producing. You can smell the tea leaves from far away.

Five cups of Tea

This poem reminds one of the different stages in a person’s life depicted by William Shakespeare. The five cups of tea tells us the stark realities of life. This poem is a collection of simple words woven eloquently to tell the philosophy of life.

Coffee at Midnight

Chennai comes alive at midnight as the protagonist of the story thirsts for a cup of coffee. The policemen and the coffee-wallah are engrained in your minds. The violence is sudden and short-lived, but necessary for the story to have its effect on the readers.

I’ll take you Away

The poem drifts in like a waft of fresh air, giving hope to the suffering. The poem can be interpreted into any way the reader wants. The one giving hope and taking you away from tribulations could be anyone… even death.

The night it rained

The poverty of India is highlighted in this story. The story is concise and structured in a way to evoke sympathy from the readers. The helpless situation of the poor of the country is pitiable.

A Day

A typical day in the life of a person who has lost his/her desire to live and is depressed, is portrayed powerfully in this poem, especially so in the last two lines that read ‘little of life is left to live, little is there to die with me’.

Just another Day

This story of Ashay deals with two things predominantly – mob psychology that can wreak havoc and superstitions of villagers in India. Though comical initially, the story has an upheaval that is disturbingly true of any mob activity anywhere in the world.

The Moonlit Shore

This poem also deals with death and the aftermath. People close in life remain so in death too, lying next to each other, with the moonlight shining on the bodies.

Living to Die

The atmosphere is eerie. It sure does give creeps to the reader. Why does the woman follow the funeral procession? Why does the man not resist the urge to follow the woman? Read on to find more…

Departed from life

A soul narrates the life led by its body before and after the separation of body and soul. The grim silence and the different perceptions from which objects are viewed by the soul make this poem an interesting read.

Kalimpong

Gorkhas and their deeds of bravery are shot at us in the mountains of Kalimpong. The atrocities of the military, the natural response of the Gorkhas to fight nail and teeth for their homeland and the dignity of woman are emotionally written. Above all, the utter calm with which Gorkhas face inevitable death is saddening and awe-inspiring. This story deserves a re-read.

A sight travels

The imminence of death is brought out in this poem by a sight that travels over the horizon, into dreams and the world beyond.

Darkness

The reader cannot but feel sorry for the protagonist languishing in the darkness. The car hit not only the protagonist but also the pride of the character, plunging into darkness his entire life. Evokes pity.

Endless wait…

This poem talks about the endless waiting sessions that everyone has in various points of life. This is almost like the poem in which Wordsworth asks, “What is this life if full of care we have no time to stand and stare?”. Powerful ideas contained in a single poem.

The New Year’s Eve

This is yet another story that makes the reader pity the lead character and is filled with irony. The reader can also relate to the character’s musings. A little oversight in proof reading gives a momentary confusion which can be overcome easily.

Living Dead

This poem is proof of the exemplary writing skills and spontaneity of the poet. The emotions jostle for space among the minds of the reader, vying for space.

Bashir Bhai Ghadi Dega Kya?

A hilarious story that has been coated with a terror brush, this is one story to enjoy and let your guard down. The story also tends to make one think that this could have happened or could happen to anyone.

Sometimes…

A poem penned for the peace of the world, the writing is filled with deep philosophical insight that could be used as the Bible for today’s terror-stricken world and society.

The Escape

A trip to Africa amidst gun toting mercenaries leaves you speechless and frightened. The entire scenario is action packed and to a certain extent possible in the world currently. The story is good, but definitely not the best of the lot.

Part of the Game…

A delightful and poignant way of the way of life, this poem is light – hearted and true. The Almighty’s supervision of everything that happens in this life is beautifully written.

 

Ashes of Bad Writers

This story needs an ‘A’ certification for the gore and violence it depicts. A superb plot, written in a way that shakes and makes you read your work countless number of times, fearing the worst is worthy of the writer. That poetic justice is served makes the story credible.

Peace

War torn countries and the plight of countless number of stranded and homeless children probably influenced Ashay to pen this powerful poem. This poem deserves a place with the literary greats of the bygone era.

Ashay Abbhi has come out with a book that has all the necessary ingredients to make that both a starter and main dish, satisfying the body and soul completely. The greatness of the author is revealed in his works, be it the swishing poems or the racy stories. It is of course to be expected that when such talent is there in a person, it is inevitable that The Inevitable must be released. The book is certainly the result of a herculean effort, taking into consideration the quality brought forth and the young age of the author. Nowhere does the author slip, except for a slight editing mistake. The Inevitable will certainly make heads to turn, attracting popularity to the author and changing the world for good, towards peace.

Rating: 4/5

 

Crossed & Knotted – literary review

If writing a novel is an art, penning a short story is art in its advanced stage. This would be vouchsafed by any writer worth his/her salt. What then would one call, the art of writing multiple short stories and linking all those stories to form one big story? Quite daunting task – one might think, to write such a unique story. Hold your breath! For this might just blow you away. What if each story was authored by a different writer to form one Grand story – a wholesome story; an apodictic novel made up of tiny, vibrant, countless number of tales from various parts of the country, nay, world. Mind-boggling – to say the least. Yet, the seemingly impossible has been attempted. Words have been weaved into and across webs, growing tall as mountains, traversing divergent terrains, avoiding snarling traffic, merging cultures, crossing into each other, evoking senses of fear, thrill, affection, loathsomeness and love, to finally form a big knot; a knot crossed and knotted enough to be termed Crossed & Knotted.

Though contrary in professions and life styles, the common platform shared by all the authors of Readomania’s Crossed & Knotted is the love for writing. Without love, this writing would not have emanated. The gushing forth of unbridled emotions washes and takes one on a whirlwind of fantasy. Love for the lingua franca has been the pivoting force acting on all the authors to have made possible this different approach of writing.

Sudip remains firmly etched in one’s memory. His transition through the different phases of his life is crystal clear. One cannot but wonder if Sutapa Basu framed the name of the character based on her name. Sutapa’s writing has lucidly portrayed the innocence manipulated by the deceptiveness of the society. The turmoil between Sudip and his conscience is mind-searching. The title A Curious Dalliance verily makes one curious about many things. Questions are left unanswered making one eager to jump headlong into the next chapter.

Ayan Pal has written a snippet that proves yet again, his mettle as a writer of growing reputation. His unimpaired language skills make The Diary of Joseph Varughese a riveting read. The chapter has a thread of connection from the previous story. Moving at a relaxed pace initially, the story picks up speed and suspense with each passing page and ends with a spine chilling note. The beauty of Kerala among the pages draws the reader like a magnet towards the story, endearing himself/herself to the story.

Sanchita Sen Das’s experiences as a journalist have given her story an edge over other stories in her portrayal of the mindset of a journalist in the story. Siya lives in the hearts of the readers as a lonely and frightened wife – yet managing to do justice to her profession by intimidating intimidation. She is the picture of a modern woman, balancing work and being a loving mother. The Web of Life spins out several strands from the web of life including psychology, and makes the cobweb quite inter-crossed and inter-knotted.

The merging of two cultures and the comparisons drawn are proofs of the ingenuity of Arvind Passey in The real fiction of Illiana Braun. The knowledge of the author on different cultures compels the reader to visualize the murky waters of the Ouse on the banks of which strolled Varu in his Scottish coat. Arvind is able to give the reader feelings of joy and premonition at the drop of a hat. The inclusion of the three witches reminds one of The Bard and his plays.

A Burning Candle by Mithun Mukherjee buds on a suspicious note and blossoms into an eerie atmosphere that has one’s senses numbed and frozen by fear. The transition leaves one speechless. One begins to wonder! Could it happen? If yes, could it be happening to me in real life? Such is the power of Mithun’s narration. The background of the story adds to the weird feeling.

The Grand story that had introduced many characters takes a turn under the guidance of Avanti Sopory, bringing in some of the old characters. The setting of the story takes the reader to a terrain and country not usually written about. The strong message imbibed in the story does not lessen the interest, but rather gives the story credibility. Relics to Ruins certainly makes one see for real what one watches in televisions.

Leap of Faith by Bhaswar Mukherjee gives the reader faith in taking the leap of faith. For, if not for hope and faith, then how would mankind sustain itself? Hope amidst turmoil, humanity standing tall when all seems to be lost and love triumphing over hate are some of the key elements on which Bhaswar the war(word)lord has built his tribe. The linking of seemingly unconnected events shows the brilliance of the author.

Reclaiming Life by Anupama Jain would give many a reader the courage and the wisdom necessary to reclaim their lives, if necessary. Poorni is pitied initially and admired finally by all readers. Anupama has definitely taken Indian Writing to new levels by masterfully describing an Indian family situation. The necessity to act for the sake of the society and the shackles the society can put on a person and families have been powerfully written.

Unlike Smaug of The Hobbit which slept for years silently, Deepti Menon’s dragon breathes fire down the necks of all people it encounters in its life relentlessly and consistently. The depiction of Kamu in the Dragon Lady speaks volumes of the ability of the writer. Drafted in flawless English, the story makes for a delightful read except for the irate feeling Kamu evokes in the reader, which again proves the hallmark of Deepti as an efficient writer. The only thought running across one’s mind would probably be ‘On whom did Deepti model Kamu?

 Amrit Sinha has penned a wonderful story under the title For a Speck of a Moment. His experiences as an Analytics Consultant have crept into his story, forming a sub-plot much necessary for the progress of the tale. The real life atrocities that were just news have become personal, thanks to Amrit. He gets the reader to feel the pain of losing and the joy of gaining, in love. One cannot but feel one’s heart going out to Binoy.

To Ma & Pa, Can Amore! is a lively tale that abounds with the love, quarrels and situations that any might face while living in India. Monika Nair’s Shanker struts around in the worlds of the readers strutting around rigidly while his eyes betray the love for his daughter Mona Lisa. The modern outlook which is so feared by parents because of the unknown is written fabulously. The love happening is casual and real, taking one on a memorable trip down the lane by years.

Look Beyond by Amar Lakshya Pawar introduces a crucial character to the success of the Grand story. One of the hopeless situations in which human beings are sometimes stranded, is written in a way to make the reader feel the pain. The three witches make their presence felt once again, adding a sinister touch to the plot.

Bhuvaneshwari Shankar brings to light the possibilities that could be thrown at the feet of a person by circumstances. Dawn at Dusk is a fitting title, as dawn is experienced by Sudip at a stage when daylight was deemed impossible. The Grand story too gets its adrenaline rush, giving the readers a smile on their faces. The author’s language is apt thanks to her doctoral degree in English Literature.

The title and the content of The Last Act remind one of His Last Bow by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Sudip has been masterfully portrayed by Arpita Banerjee. The tale told by the security guard, the scribbling on the diary, the unused flat… all make for a thrilling read. The scene in the hospital is the cream on the cake. The love of Sudip for his family is the linking thread of Crossed & Knotted.

To sum it up, Crossed & Knotted makes the readers realize that there are authors in India, many of whom are budding, who can mesmerize people with their story line, plot and language skills. The venture into an area not attempted by others is a laudable effort by Readomania. The novel is definitely worth its salt and not some run of the mill product. The downside of the novel would be the many characters that have drifted off midway, never to return. But this is to be expected of a novel of its kind. Language purists would be happy with but a few authors whose writings are without errors in areas of concord, idioms, pronouns and tenses. The second edition should probably see the death of such errors. When taking into account the insurmountable height Readomania’s Crossed & Knotted has come to, such errors are easily forgiven. On a contemporary rating, Crossed & Knotted would stay at the top of the peak for a long time.

Rating: 4.5/5

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