systemhalted by Palak Mathur

[Book Review] Urban Shots – Bright Lights – Edited by Paritosh Uttam

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I have always been a non-fiction reader and as far as fiction is concerned, I am a pucca Wodehousean. I also love to read short stories and have a good collection of classics of the likes of Mark Twain, R K Narayan, etc. From last year, I am trying to refurbish my interest in fiction and new age Indian authors. For long, I was willing to read some good short stories by Indian authors and I got this opportunity in the shape of Urban Shots.

Urban Shot – Bright Lights is a compilation of twenty-nine short stories by twenty-one authors and the credit of bringing them together goes to the editor of this anthology, Paritosh Uttam. Paritosh Uttam has done a fantastic job in bringing together the stories from different genres together in a single book for a good reading experience. It was amazing to read and realize that we have a considerable amount of talent and we can be sure that Indian English literature has a bright future.

The book is a perfect compilation, which has some stories that will lift your mood and others that will make you think and rethink about the story and its characters. However, all the stories are good, but I liked few of them that marked a special attention for my thoughts. The starting theory, Amul by Arvind Chandrasekhar is a story about a troubled but intelligent child that will leave you in a sorry state. After reading the story, I felt sad and went into the thoughts. Actually, after reading every story, it was difficult to think about anything else other than the story. That is why it took so much time to read the stories in a stretch.

Alabama to Wyoming by the editor Paritosh Uttam himself is an amusing story, which I found somewhat on the lines of Inscrutable Americans by Anurag Mathur but handled much differently, and with a new treatment. You will keep wondering whether to laugh at Sid’s innocence or lament at the way he is makes a fool of him. 

Another amazing short story is about grandparents-grandson relationship, Good Morning Nikhil by Ahmed Faiyaz. I am highly impressed with story-telling capabilities of Ahmed Faiyaz that is also evident from the fact that his four other stories, viz., Across the Seas, Mr Perierra, It’s All Good and Ready, Jet Set Go!,  are also part of the great anthology. That is total five stories in a single compilation.

I am crazy about Wodehouse and the craziness of his characters. Similar, craziness is evident in the story named Father of my Son by Roshan Radhakrishnan. I think comparison with Wodehouse stands testimony to the wonderful story-telling capabilities that he possesses. I will like to keep a note of him and will fondly be following his career as a writer.

There are few stories that though are good could have been better. I will not name them, as I do not want to discourage anyone. I really need authors like them to keep my interest rolling in Indian Authors.

My verdict for Urban Shots – Bright Lights is one book that must be grabbed, read and enjoyed! I just thank God that I got an opportunity to read this great collection of stories by some promising authors.

My Rating: 3.5/5

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