1) The Client by Vinit K Bansal : Story of a young prostitute, Riva, who finds true love unexpectedly. But her previous experiences with men make her wary of trusting anyone who tries to find a place in her heart. Will Riva get a second chance in love?
The story starts on a promising note (or should I say plot), meanders a little in the middle and then tries to pick up the pace towards end of the story. But I was a little disappointed with the overall impact of the story on the reader.
2) Moksha by Kunal Marathe: Can a man kill a woman, whom he loves the most? Would you believe a man if he tells you that he killed a woman because he loved her to death? Isn’t that ironic? But that’s the story of Arshadeep who killed the woman of his dreams in cold blood.
The suspense that this story builds up in the first few paragraphs is immense and as a reader your expectations naturally soars high but as the story progresses it does leave you a little disappointed with the plot.
3) When Destiny Strikes by Mahi Singla: Gunjan is comfortably settled after marrying a rich business tycoon and she feels blessed to have a caring husband and a doting son. But her destiny would have been different if not for her best friend Payal. But has destiny been kind to Payal?
I loved the eye for detail that the author has stuck to when portraying the characters in the story. It’s a simple narration but it manages to keep the reader’s interest riveted to the story. I loved the message that the author managed to put across through this story.
4) The Woman Who Waited by Shailini Katyal: When Ashish ditched Madhumita and left her in a lurch, she sunk into depression that pulled her in dismay like quicksand. The more she tried to come out of it, the more she was pulled into the whirlwind of misery. Will Madhumita ever fall in love again? Will she ever be able to stop waiting for her love and move on with her life?
It’s difficult to believe that during current times, when a relationship is made and then broken over Facebook statuses, love that’s eternal and pure exists. The author has wonderfully narrated the grief of a broken heart and one can feel empathy towards the protagonist’s suffering.
5) The Pale Pigeon by Siddhartha Yadav : The story revolves around the 60-something couple, Mohit and Richa, who after working hard to provide for their 3 children, are finally ready to settle into their peaceful retired life. But their dreams are shattered when their son falls into debt and asks for his parents’ help in his financial matters.
A heart-touching story that leaves you feeling sorry for the old-couple Mohit and Richa. Although in the beginning, the story reminds you of the film Baghban, the ending of the story makes you wish that a little bit of the Karma from the story ‘When Destiny Strikes’ would bite those children who treat their old parents like filth.
6) Hickey by Heema Shirvaikar: I have lost count of the times when a random stranger extended his hand to grope and I was stunned and shocked to react. But each time I have felt dirty and guilty although I was never to blame. The story deals with the stories that others’ leave on a woman’s skin and each story is a bruise, a mark of violence that is left behind against the consent of a woman.
The author has managed to delve deep into the psyche of a woman and ask some uncomfortable questions that many women must have asked themselves at some point in their life. The sensitivity with which she tackles the subject of domestic violence and marital rape is applaud-worthy. For me, this was the best story of this anthology.
7) NCERT of Love by Himanshu Chabra and Udita Pal: Himanshu and Udita are students in Class 8th and they are hopelessly in love with each other. But their not-so-clandestine romance falls into dangerous times when their teacher interrupts a particularly intimate moment. Will their young love stand the test of time or will it crumple like a stack of cards?
This has to be the sweetest, cutest and funniest love story that I have read in recent times. I liked the way the young love between the teenagers was narrated through their love letters. And some instances where Himanshu explains how Udita couldn’t get pregnant just by kissing are humorous.
8) I’ll Be there by Ishani Malhotra: After a heartbreak Sheena leaves everything behind and goes for a vacation to mend her broken heart. But there she meets Sahil, a hero in romantic films from the Eastern parts of India. And she falls headlong into a relationship without any idea if the relationship had a future.
A sweet story that has a positive but quite predictable ending. The plot has been kept simple with not many twists. Overall a nice read.
9) Dilemma by Tarang Sinha: When Ashima, a divorcee, falls in love with Ronit she thinks that her life couldn’t have been more perfect. But when her closest friend dies, leaving behind her 4-year old daughter in Ashima’s care, she’s in a dilemma. She does not want to hand over the child to orphanage but Ronit doesn’t want her to take the responsibility of the child. What decision does Ashima take in this juncture of her life?
This is my second favorite story of the anthology which narrates the story of a woman who stands by her principles and depicts a strong, independent woman who can not only take care of her own life but can also stand tall when faced with adversities. A wonderful read!
10) 120 Minutes by Saravana Kumar Murugan: When Sid is stuck in a life and death situation, all he wants is to reach home safely and hug his wife. The 120 minutes of uncertainty and his struggle to reach his abode safely forms the crux of this story that almost seems like semi-autobiographical.
This is a simple straight-forward story with an uncomplicated plot and a minimum of characters. Although the central character is facing life and death situation the reader does not get the feel of it. Also it would have been better if the story had more of the wife’s perspective too and the anxiety that she felt knowing that her husband was stuck somewhere in the storm.
11) Love and Sacrifices by Heena Ahuja & Meghant Parmar: The story of an Indian woman and a Scottish man who fought a terrifying battle for the sake of their love. And this love story is narrated through the words of their son who writes a book as a tribute to his parents’ immortal love.
The story, narrated in a flashback mode has lots of action sequences and made an enjoyable read. But sometimes there’s too much going on, as if the authors have tried squeezing in too many words within the limit. A pacy read it was!
Overall Rating: 3.5/5
Pros: Although the central theme of this anthology was love and relationships, the motley of stories touches all relationships in life which makes for a varied and enjoyable read.
Cons: A few stories had too many grammatical mistakes, which takes away the beauty of the otherwise heartrending tales.
This book was received through Goodreads Giveaway.