Sunday, 21 August 2016

Panorama (A book review)

Author- Shilpi Chaklanobis
Publishers- Notion Press
Pages- 144
Genre- Fiction (Short stories)

Blurb- 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...

Book Review- Short stories are to literature what T-20 is to Cricket. The purists may scoff at this comparison but it does hold some weight. A novel can take its own sweet time to capture the attention of the audience and the twists in the tale are closely guarded till the very end of a long journey. A short story, on the other hand, is entrusted with the task of narrating a tale in a very short span of time. It seldom follows any rules and yet leaves a deep impact on the mind of a reader. To sum up, it is much more challenging to pen a short story which can hold up its own against a novel which has its 3 acts- a fulsome 7-course meal.
‘Panorama’ is a collection of short stories by debutante author, Shilpi Chaklanobis. There are 15 stories, all coloured in different shades; I was impressed by the variety of topics chosen by the author. There is not a single dull moment as every story packs a climax which leaves you either misty eyed or with a smile on your lips. Though my personal favourite is ‘Wok’, the author leaves the best for the last, i.e. ‘The Sealed Wish’. This review would be incomplete without a special mention for ‘The Second Tsunami’. My takeaway line from this book would be-“A dried flower ceases to spread fragrance.”
On the downside, the stories could have benefited from a bit of smart editing. The rough edges could have been polished to add lustre to this gem of a book.

Verdict- An unpolished gem.

About the Author-Shilpi Chaklanobis hails from the beautiful city of Kanpur and has spent the majority of her adult life in Delhi. She currently heads the Digital Marketing division at an MNC. The amalgamation of her years spent amongst the quiet, calm streets of a small city and the hustle and bustle of a metropolitan like Delhi have lent her a unique perspective towards life. She aims to translate her experiences and understanding of human relationships into stories that not only move people but also resonate with them. She believes that the beauty of a story lies within its ability to be interpreted by the reader in the way they desire as is evident from her writing. Apart from writing, she spends her time devouring books by the dozen. This is her first endeavour as a writer and her writing not only shows promise, but also has a sense of sensitivity that compels you to think about the lives you touch every day.

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