Saturday, August 6, 2016

The Story of a Suicide- Book Review

When I learnt about this book titled 'The Story of a Suicide' , I immediately started reading this book. I have always wondered if there is no after-life, then could the morality or immorality associated with the suicide be classified in terms of black and white? Our scriptures say that this life is not the end because it’s just one of the many lifetimes we have been here. Recently, I read Dr. Brian Weiss’s and Dr. Michael Newton’s works and the picture of the afterlife that they have revealed in their books based on the case studies, is strikingly similar to that in our scriptures.

Our life is not as limited as we think it to be. We are all on our own journey, learning our own lessons at our own pace. No two fingers of our hand are alike. Similarly, no two humans can be alike. We all have our own set of strengths and weaknesses. But it does not mean one is lesser than the other. In the end we will all be the same. We are just at different points of the same journey. It is true that we all get deluded and start comparing ourselves with others. Sometimes in this process of judging, we lose our self-esteem while at the other times we as a part of the society as a whole become so consumed with a particular point of view/ way of life that any digressive point of views/ ways of life are ridiculed. The person who is different becomes a victim because the society collectively acts in a way to lower his self-esteem.

“The Story of a Suicide” by “Sriram Ayer” is a novel based on four main characters Sam, Charu, Hari and Mani. The story captures the complexity of circumstances of life which lead one of the characters to suicide.   Out of the four characters Sam was downright wicked. Charu was a mysterious character or rather it can be said that she had some kind of identity crisis. It was not very easy to understand her but there was one quality of hers that was appreciable, her strong headedness and her don’t care attitude towards the judgments passed on her. Hari was a timid and sweet natured guy.

The storyline is quite Ok. Although while reading, at certain points, the narration leaves you disappointed at the picture of these youngsters' lives which has been painted so grimly throughout. When I read the title, I had imagined it to be a story which would include problem as well as solution. But there are no words of hope written explicitly. The story is very dark and even the positive traits of characters are overshadowed with their negative impulses.

While Sam is a very good programmer, he is not very good in his interpersonal skills. He is not dignified enough to take rejections with a neutral mind. His revengefulness is what shapes the course of other lives in the story as well. Charu is strong but she is much prone to depression. In her definition of freedom, I find hints of overt use of sexuality as a means of escape. Hari is still suffering from the childhood trauma of being raped by his uncle. But his emotions seem all tangled with him turning gay after the childhood suffering. This turn seemed a little inconsistent as his experience with his uncle should rather have had scared him of men. Mani is a hard working student from low income family. His father had abandoned them and his mother was a labourer. He is dealing with his own problems like learning English. His involvement with Hari was an unexpected turn for me. 

All in all, I found the story to be a dark one. Although, there were many problems or rather mental barriers each character was dealing with, what I did not like about the characters was use of too much sexuality and mental violence in dealing with the problems.  I would have liked it better if there was focus on solutions rather than problems alone. 

On an ending note, life is precious and so are the ones gifted with it. Without sorrow, none would know the value of joy. It's true that sometimes life can be testing us in the ways which seem impossible to cope with. But at the end of tunnel, there is always light. The life may seem unfair sometimes, but life chooses us for a reason; because it knows we are larger than the problems it throws on to us, because we are capable to endure and win even beyond our own expectations. Because we are much more than what we think we are. Don't let your story end on a hopeless note. Be a fighter and remember that you would be pushed to light when darkness becomes too overwhelming for your soul.

For more answers about the book, read the story at 

Monday, August 1, 2016

Six Degrees - Game of Blogs Review

"I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up where I needed to be.”

Paperback: 422 pages
Price: INR 349
Publisher: Publishing; First edition (27 October 2015)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 9352013891
ISBN-13: 978-9352013890

About the Book:  

The book is written with the collaboration of 30 Indian Bloggers spread across 3 teams resulting into three unique stories filled with a variety of emotions.

As part of their #CelebrateBlogging initiative,, ran the first edition of Game of Blogs in September 2014 where five characters and their descriptions were provided to the bloggers. The objective was to write a fictional story revolving around these characters. Bloggers came together as teams and after three rounds filled with its own set of twists and turns, three stories made it to the end.
Well known Indian Authors like Ashwin Sanghi, Ravi Subramanian, Raksha Bharadia, Meghna Pant, Natasha Badhwar, and Kiran Manral were in the panel of Judges. The three stories in this book are a fascinating example of how one set of characters can have interesting lives with completely different dimensions.

My Review:

The book contains three stories each revolving around the lives of six different characters. Shekhar Dutta is a freelance writer and a stay at home husband. Tara Dutta, wife of Shekhar Dutta, is a successful media professional and Roohi Dutta is a nine year old daughter of the duo.  Cyrus Daruwala, a law student; Jennifer, a photographer; and Aryan Ahuja, a neighbor of Tara and Shekhar Dutta, are the other characters of the story.

Story 1 – The Awakening by the Team Bylines

The story is a sci-fi fiction involving aliens who are living on earth as human beings. The marital life of Tara and Shekhar is going like a smooth sailing until Shekhar starts penning his most important project.  Around that time Cyrus Daruwala comes to their house to stay for a few days as a guest. Jennifer, who is a childhood friend of Shekhar and stays in US, also happens to visit Mumbai at the same time. The four of them brought under the same roof at the same time- Was it just a co-incidence or a game of destiny? A strange turn of events takes place in the Dutta house which leaves everyone bedazzled and confused. But Cyrus is unfazed despite of an air of confusion around him. Infact, Roohi feels drawn to him the very moment he enters Dutta house. Is Cyrus the only key to unrevealed secrets or is there more beneath the unaware brain layers of Duttas?
The story takes you to the territories of spiritual science, mythology and telepathy. All in all, it is a good and engaging read.  
Story 2 – Entangled lives by the Team Potliwale Baba

The story is a murder mystery, which involves the murder of maid of the Dutta household, Naina. This has been my personal favorite among all stories. When Tara gets mired in her career aspirations; differences start surfacing in the couple’s relationship. Cyrus is a law student based in Delhi, who lives with her mother. Is there any secret his mother is withholding from him? Why, after the death of his mother, Cyrus shifts to Mumbai? Why Jennifer ends up at the Dutta house at the time of murder? The story has been brilliantly told with an air of mystery and suspense, which makes the reader curious enough to flip through the pages to untangle the entangled lives.

Story 3 – Missing-A Journey within by the Team Tete-a-ten

The story starts with Roohi going missing. Shekhar and Tara put in their best efforts to hunt for their beloved daughter including putting up posts on facebook. That is how they encounter Jennifer. The story also touches the subject of homo-sexuality. However, the characters were not really well integrated into one single story and there were rather too many parallel stories. As a result, the story seemed a little scattered to me.

All in all Six Degrees was a good read with a chance to explore thirty different minds in one single book. Collaborative writing is definitely an interesting thing to do. I would love to see more collaborative writing initiatives by BlogAdda in future and I would make sure I do not miss it. :)