This is a collection of 17 short stories, including one by Lyricist-Writer Gulzar. While all the stories make for interesting reading, some of them are precious gems indeed. I will begin the review with my favourites and move from the best to the better ones.
Wake Me Up by Rubina Ramesh
WHOA! What a story. This one is probably the longest of this batch of stories and the most detailed. Nightmares chase Arya throughout her life and she keeps thinking of visiting her psychiatrist. I am not going to say more as it might spoil the story for other readers. I have always believed that Rubina Ramesh is one fabulous storyteller. Like Lord Hanuman needs to be convinced of his strength, here I go once again to tell her what a great storywriter she is. “Wake Me Up” is the best of the lot. Instead of the regular addictions, the author has dealt with a topic which probably no one would have thought of. Amazing! Superbly narrated! The story sucks the reader in with the mind-blowing descriptions.
The detailing I liked best:
“He walked towards her and, flicking a lighter, torched a beacon, illuminating the whole area with a golden glow. Arya watched in fascination, as he lighted around six beacons at the circumference of the round clearing.” Not quoting more. But the details following this are excellent.
Would I like to read this one as a full-blown novel? You bet!
The Final Journey by Ahana Mukherjee
Whoa! What a story Ahana Mukherjee. You gave me goose bumps. Just goes to show what uncontrolled rage can do. Lucky Barbara to have met Siddhartho. Superbly written!
I, Me, Myself by Dr. Tahmina Khaleel
Brilliantly written! In fact, it’s so well written that I am surprised that it’s this far down the list. Wouldn’t the editor want to place the best stories right at the beginning? The characterisation of Sophia is excellent. Her obsession, “I, Me, Myself” is superbly portrayed. Congrats Dr. Tahmina Khaleel. I was completely touched when Sophia reveals to her father why she is the way she is. I am avoiding saying more to not let out spoilers.
Into the Abyss and Back by Janaki Nagaraj
A perfect title for a near-perfect story by Janaki Nagaraj. It talks about the mid-life crisis of a woman who’s missing the spark in her marriage. Except for a couple of sentences that grated, the story is a classic.
An everlasting bond by Trippayar Sahasranaman Priyaa
This superbly written story is about Shanaya’s addiction to social media. She makes online friends all the time, especially those that have obviously fake identities. She’s so drawn to her chats that after a point, she does not enjoy meeting people in person. Read the story to find out if she manages to come out of her addiction. I liked the last line of the story best. Am I going to quote it here? Of course not! Please open the book and read it for yourself.
Search - A Short Journey by Raghuvir Shekhawat
Another brilliant story with a crisp narrative; loved reading this one about a guy who works at rehabilitating drug addicts! The story is about the abyss he almost falls into.
Loved this excerpt:
“…victims of your circumstances and your uncontrollable emotional turmoil. You don't need to win drugs. You need to win yourself. Distract yourself from your addiction. Take your mind and your heart to where it belongs…to your loved ones and look for little happy moments…they make life big…”
Idiot’s Box by Nivedita
This is the story of Vasudeva and Mani. When Vasudeva goes to Germany for a few years on work, leaving his wife Mani with their kids, she gets addicted to TV. On his return to India, will it be possible for Vasudeva to wean his wife off her addiction? Read the lovely story that Nivedita weaves around the couple who have been married a few decades and how they bring back the romance into their lives.
Marijuana Diary by Paulami DuttaGupta
It’s short, simple and beautifully penned. Loved this story told in the first person by a Marijuana addict.
One feedback: It’s not possible to die of marijuana overdose – Click Here to find out...
The Rain by Gulzar
Very well written though sad story – about Damoo and his addiction to booze. The rain is relentless and unmerciful in this powerful play of words by Gulzar.
Freedom has a Price Tag by Meera Bhardwaj
This is a story of a drug addict. Very well written and sad! Reading this story makes me feel extremely sorry for the parents. It’s so difficult to ensure that one’s kid stays away from drugs.
Life in My Shoes! by Nehali Lalwani
This one is the story of Niyati, who is addicted to alcohol. But for Gaurav, she would have drowned completely in it. The story is very realistic and touches your heart.
All for a Game by Aparajita Dutta
This story is about football addiction that the heroine has – to the point that her marriage suffers. Lots of well-researched detailing on football; Kudos to the author on that! Will she get back with her husband and continue to live her life? Good one. Though I was a mite confused at the way the story ended unexpectedly - couldn’t connect with the ending.
Anorebolemipedia by Brindaa lakshmi
Well coined title! Priyanka has an eating disorder, being a compulsive eater who dreams of being slim. Neel has a different kind of eating disorder – suffering from Bulimia. A well-conceptualised story! One point though – I have heard of waiters spitting into patrons’ dishes, sometimes, when they are pissed. But every time? And no other worker notices? Pretty strange!
Token Number 205 by Reshma Ranjan
The story idea is good – The lady in black with token number 205 with an addiction for being negative. This is probably the most common of addictions and hence makes for the most relatable story. I only wish it had been presented more interestingly.
One More Chance by Rochelle Potkar
Though I understood the story itself, I couldn’t connect with what the author means by ‘love’ here; the one that makes a woman of 40 appear like a 20-year-old. Though Sahil and Divya seemed to deserve the end they got, what were they trying to achieve in life? It kind of seems forced.
Tiramisu - A Wet Dream by Deepali Junjappa
The background is set very well and the story is also well-written, though I didn’t understand the Tiramisu connection.
A Date Night at Home by Nethra A
All that I understood about this story is that it’s about an addiction to chocolate. Not much beyond that. The story is about a ‘she’ who lives somewhere in the west, I guess.
An interesting and motley collection of short stories that are held together by the thread called “addiction” - An appreciative effort by Paulami DuttaGupta and Nethra A. I wish that more attention had been paid to proofing and formatting of the stories. The stories themselves make for an awesome read.
Disclaimer: I received a free copy of Marijuana Diaries in the form of PDF in return for my honest review.