Tag: Books

Life With A Pinch Of Salt ~ Asfiya Rehman

“Life With a Pinch of Salt” is a collection of short stories and micro-fiction by Asfiya Rehman. What ties these twelve stories together is life. Our messy, unpredictable, full of surprises and yet, beautiful life.

It was the cover and the title of the book that first intrigued me. But later, it was the stories inside that engrossed me. A short read, one can finish the book in about half an hour, “Life With A Pinch Of Salt”, is a mix of short stories and micro-fiction. Few of the stories have tongue-in-cheek humour, like “Fear” and “Bhai and NRI”. “Death Lurks In Every Corner” is a great attempt at humour, with a twist in the tale. “Wedding Vows or Woes” is the quintessential Indian wedding mishap story. I think most of us, who have attended Indian weddings, would remember an anecdote about some issue that had the potential to derail the whole wedding. This story shows a similar incident in a humorous way. “The Best Mistake of My Life” showed the author’s way with words. The reader is kept guessing about the protagonist’s character. “Devi”, on the other hand, was poignant. A micro-fiction tale, it succeeds in touching the reader’s heart.

The best story, in my opinion, was, “Is It Kinder To Give or Receive”. This simple tale shows the innocence and purity of childhood. Saifi is an adorable character whose nuances the author has captured very well. In fact, the story reminded me of the short films made by TVF. It shows the same simplicity of life and humorous coincidences.

If I had to find the flaws in the book, since this is a review, then for me, it would be that the length of the book is too short. A few more stories might have satisfied the bookworm in me.

I have always believed that our routine, mundane lives have stories hidden in them. Asfiya Rehman has succeeded in bringing out these stories on paper. These stories are simple, slice-of-life stories. They do not ruffle any feathers or raise any issues plaguing our society. Nor do they pontificate or show the moral double grounds of society. Rather, “Life With A Pinch Of Salt” shows the vagaries of life and the beauty in the mundane.

To paraphrase the authors, “Life isn’t meant to be perfect, it is meant to be lived“.

“Life With A Pinch Of Salt” has been released as part of BlogchatterEBook Carnival and can be downloaded by clicking here.

My Ebook, “A Potpourri of Drabble” has also been released as part of Blogchatter’s Ebook Carnival. It can be downloaded for free for a limited time from here.

Psst. My book “Xanadu: Three Souls Searching For Their Paradise” is now available on Amazon, do check it out!

One Girl Many Lives (Anthology) ~ Jimpify Publishing

One Girl Many Lives is an anthology of five stories published by Jimpify Publishing. The muse for the stories is a picture of a girl running on the beach. The first two stories, The Lone Flight and Black July are about the loss of an innocent, carefree world. Set in two different times and regions ( Partition in India and Civil War in Sri Lanka), the two stories are about the violent disruption of a familiar world, when the trauma of the past becomes a constant in life. In the story LoveY2K the protagonist looks at the painting of the young girl running on the beach and it makes her re-think priorities of her life. She longs to be as carefree as the girl in the painting. Runaway Princess is a fast-paced thriller with secrets, betrayal, romance and murder. Spaces, set in the year 2135, is about picking up the pieces after the loss of a loved one. It is about love, but more importantly, this story is about hope. It is about daring to dream and having the courage to achieve the dream.

The stories on the surface seem totally dissimilar, and yet the girl running on the beach is the common thread with all the five stories.

When we think of an anthology we think of short stories written by individual authors. One Girl Many Lives, however, is a unique anthology. When you read the preface you will realise the fact that each story is a collaborative work of five authors, all the five stories are written by the five authors one after the other. There is, however, no disconnect in the stories with the writing merging seamlessly to create a single story. A word of appreciation for the authors Ajit, Anshu, Priya, Sona and Jithin as well as the editor Abitha, for achieving a cohesive anthology.

For a book review though, we need to look beyond the peculiarity of five authors of the story and look at the content. This anthology has stories set in different regions, time frames, cultures, etc. The stories travel from India to Sri Lanka to New York to Paris to Arctic Greenland. Their time entwines with history as it jumps from Partition to 1980s to 2000 to the year 2135. The authors have done a good job in creating a book which on the surface seems higgledy-piggledy, but is cohesive underneath. Except for in LoveY2K, there is underlying violence in all the stories. Yet, the stories are also about hope, about making a new life and finding closure. The stories can be read per se or you can consciously keep the inspiration of the girl in mind while reading them.

Out of the five stories, my favourite story was the “The Lone Flight”. Set in the days of partition of India, the story is of Jassi’s escape from Lahore to India. The story starts by describing the idyllic childhood of Jassi which abruptly came crashing down when winds of hatred started flowing during partition. The story is about losing you family and your innocence. Of trying to make sense in a world filled with cruelty and violence. It is also a story of forgiveness and redemption. The story shows us the frailty of humans, of how ordinary people are capable of extreme violence and yet extreme kindness.

 While you are reading the book, you can see flashes of the young girl running. She seems to be running through the book, seeing how she is being treated by the authors and the readers. She becomes not only the muse for the authors but also the reader’s companion.

You can buy the book on Amazon by clicking here  : https://www.amazon.in/dp/B08BBZSLPL