|Front Cover Drawing by Khushwant Singh|
A courier arrived yesterday morning, from Citibank, bringing me the book I had ordered in exchange for my reward points, many weeks ago. The moment I saw that it was a series of short stories and that the author was the wife of an Indian actor, I was put off. I am not so keen on reading short stories and I presumed that it might be another case of wannabe writing or the rich being able to publish anything they write. The appraisals by Shobaa De and Khushwant Singh or the foreword by Gulzar meant nothing to me. Of course, they were friends from the industry, what is the big deal?
After I finished reading A Case Of Exploding Mangoes, I picked up this book. I read the first story and was surprised to find it good. Then another and another, within an hour and some time later I had finished all the nine stories in the book. I would not recommend this as a great read. I might not have bought it if I had walked into a book store. It is not a worthless piece but I would read it only once. Priced at Rs.295, one is probably better off walking past the bookshelf.
Nandita seems to have a fair command over the English language and a flair for writing that I have found lacking in so many Indian writers. However, the stories are nothing unusual. They are little narrations of events she may have seen in real life and she chose to tweak them a bit to make stories out of them. The stories towards the end of the book reduce in quality as compared to the earlier ones. The reviews, foreword and feedback all are from friends. I guess if I made a book of my blog posts or wrote a series of short stories based on events in my real life and had my close social circle appraise it for me, I could come up with something like this. I might not have priced it so high, though, my conscience would not allow me that!
It is not a book that would remain on my bookshelf. After I read it, I thrust it in the box that has the books I want to sell to a second-hand book store. Desperate to improve the quality of books I have been reading, I have now picked up Contest by Matthew Reilly as my next book. Let us see what it does to me...