Thursday, March 1, 2012

Review: Urban Shots- Crossroads

Publisher: Grey Oak Publishers
Price: Rs. 199 (discounted to Rs. 149 At Flipkart)
Authors: 26 authors of the 30 short stories in this book. Edited by bestselling author Ahmed Faiyaz.

What attracted me to this book when I was going through the books available for review at blogadda.com, was its title. Urban Shots totally lives up to its name, comprising 30 urban stories (by authors both, bestselling and debutante, and popular bloggers) about all kinds of people in urban India- a yoga loving doctor, a mysterious kid with a fancy bike, a security guard who befriends a little girl, the ordeal of a man trying to get off at Borivali from a Virar Fast in Bombay and similar stories about quirky people and people just like we see every day. Those who’re either very similar or completely distinct, having their lives criss-crossing each other, mingling with the lives that are socially forbidden or with their soulmates after years of wait, hence, the subtitle- “Crossroads”.

Urban Shots book cover
About the book (and review)
The 30 stories differ with respect to the protagonists, their cultural, social and financial backgrounds, their troubles ranging from an overstuffed train to the demise of a close friend, and the final outcomes of their actions. Some are mysterious stories that remain a mystery even at the end, some are clear cut, some have cheerful anecdotes and some are totally depressing. The book’s a mix of all these genres and I would say I found that quite fair, since it would appeal to all kinds of people living in urban areas (or otherwise), who can relate to these stories, having seen or experienced similar situations themselves (or not. Even then, the stories are fascinating and the whole collection, commendable).



I personally found a few stories exceptionally good, and those that left me thinking about it a long time after I had finished reading. 



- Hako (by Chandrima Pal) was a mysterious yet profound story of a young boy who lived in a formidable house, but had a bike that other kids envied. The little desires of children have been beautifully portrayed in this story. 

- Getting off a Virar Fast at Borivali (by Vinod George Joseph) was a hilarious account of a man who boards a Virar Fast knowing well he should have taken another train for his destination- Borivali. Fantastic and realistic description of the crowd, cunning men and the desperate attempts of the protagonist to get off at his destination. 

- Song of the Summer Bird (by Anita Satyajit) is a story of love and innocence. The security guard of a library becomes friends with a little girl whose father runs that library, and teaches her all about nature and things he knew and things the girl wanted to know until one day it was so late that the girl’s parents thought he kidnapped her. 

- The Gap (by Saritha Rao) characteristically illustrates the difference or ‘The Gap’ in the thinking of a mother and her daughter over the issue of crank calls. 

- Paradise (by Anitha Murthy) talks about emotions a house maid goes through when she decides to opt for the promises of a life like ‘paradise’ by the house’s driver, Hari, being an accomplice in planning to loot the house and run away! (Yikes!). 

- Baba Premanand’s Yoga Class (by Paritosh Uttam) narrates the story of an obstetrician who gets into news for allegedly making lewd gestures to a woman (hyperactive, according to me), when all he was doing was practicing Baba Premananda’s hand yoga at a red light! He loses his repute and clients and later the lady who accused him comes to apologize, saying she saw the same hand yoga on TV! Tells how fickle minded people are, how we tend to believe anything that’s hyped and of course, the disadvantages of media! 

- Rajasthan Summer (by Ayesha Heble) worked best for me. A tired and stranded passenger in a small town in Rajasthan, is directed to a hotel by the stationmaster. The man sees a brightly lit and well furnished hotel, celebrating a typical wedding function and is told that they have no room. He makes his way to a scarier looking and dark haveli-turned-hotel and realizes in the morning that the bright hotel was supposedly closed down last year when a huge fire broke out after a wedding function! :P

What’s special
Almost all accounts have been simply narrated, with intense details that make the readers automatically visualize the situation and immediately feel connected, since we can easily relate to the situations that belong to a typical India. As I mentioned before, the stories are a combination of a variety of genres, such that you finish a sad story of a middle aged man and begin a cheerful incident about a little kid! This can work well for some readers who dislike monotony, but can be slightly irksome for some, since there are many fluctuations. ‘A breezy read’ would be apt for this book.

Recommended if you want to read about the actual India, like short stories, are an Urban Indian or looking for a light read!

This review is part of the Book Reviews Program at BlogAdda.com. Participate now to get free books!
(And hey book lovers, it's World Book Day today! Read and enjoy!!!)

8 comments:

  1. whoa!!! YOU ARE SUCH A READER!!
    I was looking for someone who could suggest me some good books. Now I know where to go ;)
    This book seems really interesting ( thanks to your amazing review :P)
    Will sure read it!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Saloni. Do let me know how you liked it after reading. :)

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  2. I like short stories, actually I love short stories. I am an urban indian and I would definitely like to add this book to my to-read list. Thanks to the author of this wonderful post. :)
    Post with all the elements of an awesome review. :D
    If its some kind of a competition, is there any way to vote?? ;)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. And yeah... I celebrated the world book day by going to the book fair and buying loads of books without even knowing it. Yaaay!!

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    2. Haha... No, there isn't any competition. Thanks for the wonderful words. :D
      If you like short stories, do read it. There are a couple more in the series...
      And congratulations on getting loads of books from the fair! :) Happy Reading! :)

      Delete
  3. Thanks for liking my story - Getting off a Virar Fast at Borivali. Vinod Joseph

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh.. I really enjoyed that story! :)
      Very descriptive and wonderfully written.
      Thank you for your comment here :)

      Delete
  4. Finally I read that book :o)

    Yesss you are right! It is a wonderful read, entertaining, light and still manages to leave an impression once you have completed reading it.

    ReplyDelete

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