Being one who can never read a book that is as thick as the biceps of Vidya Balan, I always long for short stories. I have no idea what heights Indian fiction has reached nor I want to know it. Was lucky to attend the launching of this book recently and what caught my fancy was the presentation.
About the presentation
The tagline/description of the book is - 30 rush hour stories. Not short, but rush hour stories. This is what Mumbai is, things happen quickly, instant gratification is the name of the game and the book (not to mention its lovely cover) clicks with you immediately. The reason - the book places itself as a 'tales from Mumbai' handbook.
About the book/stories
Their are 30 stories...all offering a slice of life in Mumbai.Enticing, shocking, erotic, flat...the compilation has got it all. There is a bit of Mumbai everywhere in the book, even if:
1. it is a story about the son of a junior forest officer whose little son dreams of going to Mumbai and does something very dangerous as a result of this 'ambition'.
2. It is a story of a kiss between forbidden relationships
3. It is a story of a storyteller who loves mixing real life stories with fiction and vice versa!!
4. It is about a female named 'china'!!
5. It is about a chance encounter with a 'lesbian' who was a senior in one's college.
6. It is about 'office romance' that goes kaput in the most humrous way you can imagine..
7. It is about riots and how some riots are good! (My personal favorite this one!)
8. It is about a worrying mother who is waiting for her son to return in the middle of the night (having lost one son to a road accident)
9. It is about the meteoric rise and the fall from grace of a tactical 'adman'
10. It is about having a 'live-in' with the boyfriend without parent's knowledge
I am very inclined to give out my favorites but I wont (I know I am running a risk of getting NU as a rating and oh man!! I am scared.!!..) The only reason for not giving my favorites is for you to approach the book as a blank slate and let the book paint it in the colors of Mumbai. Trust me you will like it.
Inspite of a very repititive mention of Mumbai in my review, this book will appeal to those who have never lived here because (like it or not) Mumbai is etched in the minds of everyone in India...for good or for bad? Well depends upon the image you have made of it.
About the Author
Jahnvi is a natural storyteller (not like the main character of the short story with the same name in this book), and you can actually feel it while you flip the pages. A perfect portrayl of men (how they would be busy in either charging the battery of their camcorders before an important family function or how they will 'disable' the rear view mirror of their cars so that their drivers don't see the 'special office colleague' they have with them on the back seat), a spot on sense of relationships and blending all this with a true blue Mumbai-flavor is what makes her stories immensely readable.
I remember a journalist passing a remark on Jahnvi's writing style in this book as not to be dismissed in haste or clubbed as literature in a hurry!! - And man I agree!
Pick this book if you wish to read something 'on the go' or if you want to experience the life on the 'go'. I am very sure (with my limited power of comprehension) that short stories as a genre will witness a meteoric rise in the days to come and if 'window seat' is anything to go by, I am rubbing my hands with glee as I pen off this review
Peace and equanimity
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