Down the Road – A Review

28 campus tales by 16 authors.  225 pages. I’ll finish it over a weekend, or so I thought. Surprisingly, I found myself taking more than a few days to relive the nostalgia the foreword promised.

The book kicks off with Down the Road, a geek finding himself to the backdrop of a love story by Ahmed Faiyaz.  The next one by Ira Trivedi takes an interesting look at a girl’s guilt for losing a good friend and lover to temptation from the dark side. More stories explore dealing with bully professors, a bully in love, falling out of love; falling back in, belongingness and coming of age.

Ira Trivedi takes another dark turn with The Music Room. It comes as no surprise when the end notes list her other published work.  The book seems to have a good mix of established names and first timers. Finding this at the end, shows that it is a good read. 

A few i would recommend reading

  • The silent way in which men bond  – The Cafe with No Name, Sneh Thakur
  • Kane and Able of campus politics – One And One Eleven, Prateek Gupta
  • The jhol to arrange your love marriage – Setting, Ahmed Faiyaz
  • I am a sucker for old man young boy stories – The Worm That Turned, Malathi Jaikumar
  •  It’s different! – Bellow Yellow, Chinmayi Bali
  • Have experienced this first hand. – Strangers in Strange Places, Abhijit Bhaduri

As a future reader a few notes to the authors – Tell me stories; don’t think how to figure a big word in your narration. As much as I hate to agree with Chetan Bhagat, don’t write to impress your English teachers.  If you write stories about the head boy falling for the head girl, who will write about the fumbling middle benchers?🙂

Final Verdict: Read it for some nostalgia, there is a story that will resonate with you.

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Disclaimer: I had been asked by the publishers to review the book, found it worth my time.

Space

She would keep her wallet handy. A purse would be too lady-like, she hated touch-ups anyway. You are so beautiful , shall I compare thee..

“To a summer’s day?? No! I’d prefer an icy windy night”, she laughed.

“Err..excuse me miss, shall I come by 3?”, the old drunk was desperate.

“Oh.. No No, let’s leave now, $200 is fine.”

Strolling out hand in hand, she rushed back.. Snatched her wallet.. Thumbed the space key he had thrown at her, ripped from the blackberry he used to write sonnets on.

Rain

Pouring rain, a girl walks across the street without an umbrella,unfazed. She has her head upright, isnt trying to cover her entire being by her tiny palm, quiet unlike the others. It’s like she does this every morning after brushing her teeth.

A girl after my own heart.

This was my contribution to the crowd created book #Voice (Original Post http://letswriteabook.posterous.com/#!/cosmos)

Four Stories

An odd assignment required me to sketch a tree, a house, a male and a female. To top it off I had to write four stories for each one of the sketches. I will spare the internet of the sketches. Here are the four stories I wrote on them.

House

Deep in the woods, off the nh8 lies a home a few stories high. Snubbed out as abandoned junk, unattractive to the passing eye, the shades and binds bring in the morning mist and the pleasant sun.

The inhabitants of a place give it its soul, but not this one. This special home added something to the resident’s lives rather than mould itself around their lives. The old couple saw the autumn-spring tango from the attic window, the newlywed got their kicks out of hearing the floors creak every night, personified their lovemaking, they said. Their kids thereafter were crazy over the roof, quiet literally. The long slopes made for an amazing slide… Giving a scar or two but memories, endless.

The house’s story does not have an end, just the way its beginning is not known, it just is.

Tree

The tree of unknown origin is a full leafed, vast spread, well grounded tree in the middle of a municipality school. The survival of this tree amongst its now cut peers was only attributed to the swing that fit snugly on one of its strongest branches.

Undated by age it marks the lives of many of the youth completing the cycle from childish exploits to worrisome fears of a parents.

Male

Gampo was a happy go lucky bum without a care in the world. His inane need to have a carefree existence always got him into trouble with his mindful and strict village folks. He tried to shift the prayer hall away from the temple, so that the God, childlike kanha, much like him, could sleep till late without the prying drums and chants of the prayer hall. He was almost thrown out of the village if it wasn’t for his grandmother who understood his predicament and convinced her peers in the panchayat to let him stay.

He once planned to set the sun out for good, the night made his hunter dad return home and share his bounty amidst the tales of his jungle exploits. Not knowing the tales come from toil and the sun was too big to extinguish. Walking towards the sun wisdom stepped in but his enthusiasm never faded. He reached the end of the world. Thanked the sun for the adventure, bid it adieu and turned around towards home.

Female

Rama was a ragged old maid whose fingers were creaked from the years of toil and rigor, in the field and later in the sink of her rich mistress. The friction of her fingers on the soft supple skin of her mistress’s child made him squeal with delight. Her life dedicated to care for him and tending to his every need made her feel like the mother she always wanted to be, but never could. Her tears had washed many a utensils, after a night of heavy beating by her husband, crying in the refuge of the washroom.

Life never gave her the promised good times. Her emotions all spent when the child, now grown up touched her feet before being beheaded in the war.

Cosmos

If you ever look outside the airplane window on a late-night flight, you’ll see how our cities outshine all the stars put together. I wonder if stars motivate themselves, try to catch up with us.

And this cyclic competition makes a toddler giggle, as he runs his hand through a bag full of marbles.

Filmy. Very Filmy.

Sitting next to me in the bus is this young lassie who looks to have just completed her BCA/B.Sc and is in the bag bad Mumbai city.

A guy comes up to her window, she goes “Kem.. kone kidhu ahiya aavanu?” Who asked you to come here.

Thara man e. Your heart did.

Hehe

Sema javani che? Which one are you going in?

Aaje, Baroda Express. Today

Ane Pachi? And when will you be back?

Budhware e.. Tyar sundhi kone tras aapis? Wednesday, Who will you trouble till then?


Looking playfully the guy reaches out to slap her… Makes contact.. Caresses her cheek,gazes into her eyes with a stern look.. Turns around and walks away.

 
Reminds me of a line from Shantaram – Any Indian man will tell you that although love might not have invented in India, it was certainly perfected there.

Stranger

Minivan. Last row.
She’s trying to rest her head against the seat, sleep.. A part of me is admiring the contours of her face, the irregularity of her teeth that make her surreally real. Another part wonders what she did to be so sleepy. Who dint let her sleep last night and how?

Devoured or devastated? Giant rock on the wrong finger.