Tuesday, 17 May 2016

Panorama by Shilpi Chaklanobis: a review

Unlike most people who I know, I do not hesitate reading the works of a debut author because for me, the debut authors are very promising. They always come up with something fresh and new, making me wait for their books and also the debut authors have something new to tell. So when I came across Panorama – A collection of Short stories by debut author Shilpi Chaklanobis, I did not hesitate before picking it up. The cover of the book is so inviting that I would not be lying if I say that I fell for the book at first glance. Then, I turned towards the back and read the blurb. Like most anthologies, this blurb also gives a take on the stories that it has. Have a look at it, before I go for reviewing each story one by one.

According to the back cover- A turbulent relationship between a mother and a daughter takes a sudden turn when the daughter stumbles across a past that she never knew. The golden period of a professor’s life is tainted by questions about his purpose until one night gives him all the answers he needs. Desperate times test us all but when hunger drives a girl to do the unthinkable, her life changes forever. Woven around the lives of the people around us- the shy girl on the metro, your domestic help, your neighbours and perhaps even you- this collection of short stories will take you on a bittersweet journey that explores the spectrum that is part of any human relationship and all the complexity and chaos that secretly dwell within the homes and hearts of India. Often laced with an element of introspection, the stories are sure to change the way you see the world around you...

The Wok is the first story in the book and is basically a story which could be anyone’s. It can be of the maid who works at our place or of the beggar of the street. What works for the story is the fact that it is written so beautifully that it touches the heart at first read.

Peanut is the second story of the book. How dear is out pets to us? That is exactly what the essence of the story peanut depicts. I had a pet once and the story reminded me of her. By the end of the story, I had a lump in my throat. A treat for every pet (dog) lover.

The third story of the book is a story called The thirst. With two beautiful stories as the opening stories of the book, this story took me by surprise. I won’t say I did not like it. It is a very good story and it touches too, showing the reality of life but I felt that it could have been told in a much better way than it has been told.

Selective Secularism is the fourth story of the book. Now, this is a story which needs to be told. Selectivity and secularity at its best, or worst? This is the story of most people in every second house. One major must read story. But then again, some more details could have meant to harm.

The fifth story of the book is called bribe. The thing which is usually unsaid but it also goes without saying that it exists. Who does a child love more- the father or the mother? You should really read this story to know and to open your eyes.

There are very few stories which stay with me but I am sure the sixth story of the book, forever, will. Perfect for a TV show episodic, this is a beautiful tale. Keeping a few errors (grammatical) aside, by the end of the story, I had tears.

The seventh story of the book is The wait. I have noticed a pattern in the writing style of the authoress. She charms her readers and then suddenly with a story the reader feels like taking a step back. This story had the essence but lacked the narration that was needed.

The eighth story of the book, The second tsunami made me think. The story might just be a true story. It would surely touch your hearts and give you mixed emotions. What would you have done in such a situation? Read the story and let me know.

The ninth story of the book is titled The example. The authoress gas a talent in showing her story writing capabilities in the writing industry. Evert story of hers seem to be a brief of a novel’s storyline. A much liked story of mine, the essence is well maintained.

The meeting is the tenth story of the book. I’ll confess, I have a best friend and we are known as twins too and I am also sure of the fact that 25 years from now, this is exactly what would happen to us. Me being Payal and she being Ria. I have a piece of advice- listen to the story. Please.

The mirage is the eleventh story of the book. For a fleeting moment after reading the story, I did not know how to write about it. The story has something in it which is very precious. Misunderstanding in a relationship. It does not hurt knowing both sides of the coin, does it?

The twelfth story of the book is destiny. First, I am a believer. To whosoever reads the story there are 2 things- one, you are a believer and two, you are not a believer. For me, it was the former. A tactfully formed story and a controversial concept, I felt that the authoress could’ve written it in a better way so that even those who fall in the latter category would believe it.

The thirteenth story of the book is titled The untimely death. The title might seem to be mentioning about a person’s death but the story was much more than that. How can one incident change so many lives? Read on to find out.

Before it’s too late is the fourteenth story of the book. ‘Live before you die’. A very meaningful line that says a lot. Who follows it? It is hard to decipher. Who do we loose in this rat race? And who do we gain? It is for you to decide but before it is too late.

The final story of the book, The sealed wish, is the perfect story the book could end with. A treat to the readers and a lump in the throat story, you would have to read the story to know what the story does to you.

Once I had finished reading the book and was analyzing the book I felt that everything worked for me in the book. The stories were nice, the concepts nice. I loved the cover of the book and even the blurb. The few things that I did not like are the few grammatical errors of the book and also the pattern of the authoress which gives you a break while reading. All in all a book which you can finish at one go and you would be satisfied, I would want to read a novel from the authoress soon. This book is 4 out of 5 for me.

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