At a time when the market is cluttered with innumerable similarly plotted,un- inspiring works by debutant writers,Crossroads(the second in the Urban Shots series from Grey Oak/Westland India)comes like a breath of fresh air.An anthology which explores the conflict,chaos and the confusion in the lives of interesting and colourful characters in Urban India,Crossroads penned by 26 young authors and edited by the best selling author Ahmed Faiyaz is definitely a must read for all those who have a penchant for good short stories.Most of the stories in this compilation are fresh and compelling which makes this book totally worth your time and money.
The good thing about Crossroads is that the book is well edited and it has got characters whom the average Indian can easily relate to.The book also doesn’t have much grammatical errors or spelling mistakes which is quite common these days.
The Best of the Lot
1.Baba Premanand’s Yoga Class:
Paritosh Uttam takes a dig at mob psychology and yellow journalism in this story of Dr Basu,a veteran gynaecologist who becomes the ‘breaking news’ for all the wrong reasons.
Best selling author Sahil Seth is confused whether to choose between his wife and his lover.What I liked the most about this story by Ahmed Faiyaz was it’s un expected climax.
This story of a single mother and her seventeen year old daughter by Saritha Rao deals with generation gap.
Manisha Dhingra tells the tale of a loving husband and his mentally unstable wife.Watch out for the terrific twist in the end!
Though Karthik K’s Hunch has the now clichéd theme of terrorism as it’s central premise,the narrative and the brilliant climax makes this one a good read.
Rohan Swamy’s Tainted Love has an emotionally scarred woman –a sex worker-as it’s protagonist.A moving tale of love,hope and longing in the by lanes of Kamathipura.
7.Footsteps in the dark:
Mini Menon’s leading lady Alice has a troubled past.Her father died long ago and her mother is not in the best of her senses.
The book has also got a couple of okayish ones like Hako(Chandrima Pal),Gautam Gargoyle(Shailaditya Chakraborty),Wrong Strokes and The Last week(V.Srinivasan).The only story in this compilation which I found disappointing was Childish Love by Reeti Gadekar(I remember reading the boring ‘families at Home’ by the same author a few years back)
The Final Verdict:On the whole I am giving a perfect five on five for Urban Shots:Crossroads.Do pick up a copy,you won’t regret!
-reviewed by nikhimenon