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.

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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@Warthon  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 🙂

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 😉

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