Etudes – Aseem Kaul

The post modern indian literature is a big blob which makes no sense to me collectively be it Rushide, Roy, Sen or Ghosh .. BUT then comes along the collected works of a desi@WarthonΒ  PhD who uses simple stories to weave together a book that is disparate yet cohesive, high hand intellectual yet true to the storytellers tradition.

The 75 shorts (By the authors admission they are not stories themselves) cover a range of emotions. From a twisted take on a well-known classic (Juliet) to an intimate moment spent with oneself (Solitude, The Treadmill) to an omelette recipe that pokes fun at our pretentious self . There is no central theme to the book, stories are desperate and yet you don’t feel distaste when the theme swiftly changes. This is largely to the way each story presents itself, its a like a peeping window to the act midway or post-climax. The characters are not introduced – not even named in most, at times there seems to be no purpose why the author chose to describe an episodes (Toast).

A short on my favourite shorts πŸ™‚

The Vacation – Story of a stranded bride who finds freedom on her honeymoon.

Rock Paper Scissors – a small playground conversation makes us wonder what world we are letting our kids grow up in.

Identification – May feel like necrophilia but honest and heartbreaking.

Victoria – Funny, how men think.

Juliet – A classic turned on its head. The villain is still curiosity and shame.

The Interruption – Reading a couples mind when the phone rings as they are making love.

Take One – brilliant conversation, i may actually have one day!

Dice – went over my head, couldn’t understand it.

Going back – How it will never be the same again.

Daedalus – A fathers remorse on his sons death.

Love Story – Why real and honest love stories are boring. Cute.

Then we have the dark set – The Perfect House, The Shirt, Solitude, The Treadmill, Atlas, Unsaved – Makes a compelling read. Soulful, severe and sombre few, romance death, few make solitude sexy.

Where Shall We Go for Dinner – Its the one story i would recommend everyone to read. A lovers tiff – the eventual patch up – makes for a cute read. Yes, i am recommending a cute love story, beat that!

The book has some unique features that made me pick it up from Blossoms in Bangalore. It has its title and page numbers on the side and it had a witty, self deprecating introduction and back page.

Also, a book that has a French title is a COMPLETE chick magnet πŸ˜‰

Aseem is an IIM-A alumni and this book is fighting hard to regain the faith lost by many a Bhagats. His book blog.