Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Book Review: Love, Peace & Happiness - What more can you want? By Rituraj Verma

On the jacket

Stories surround us. Stories about people like us who make difficult and often complex choices that sometimes astound us. You must have come across some people in your own life who closely resemble the characters in these stories. Maybe you have gone through trying moments in your life too. For instance, have you ever been bugged enough with your partner to want to leave? Have you ever had to choose between love and money? Have you ever had to compete with your partner? Have you ever felt that your family weighs you down when it comes to choosing your partner? At times like these, havent you wished that things happened differently and that you could change how they ended? Now you will control how the stories in this book end.

Each story centres on the life of an urban middle class character caught in a set of circumstances beyond his or her control. A Hindu girl living in with a Muslim boy is suddenly in the glare of global media in a reality TV show, a divorced cynical man faces the prospect of committing himself to a prostitute, a highly talented small town girl must choose between life and death. All must resolve the conflicts within their beliefs. Read the way the stories end in the book, but if you dont agree with the ending, visit the website riturajverma.com for alternate endings. If you dont like the way the stories end there either, write your own, and if your ending is selected, see it in print in the next print run with your name in the acknowledgements. Hoping to change the world, one story at a time

Review

To tell you the truth, when I first saw this book, I wasn't expecting much out of it. I was sceptical for a simple reason, that the book looked like another run-of-the-mill love story written by random authors these days. Moreover, the author's IIT background had me wondering if it would be another book on IIT students?

But. I was pleasantly surprised. The book begins with an introduction from the author and a foreword from his wife, Smriti Verma. The foreword is what intrigued me to read the book further - it spoke about her relationship with the author and how it has developed.

Love, Peace & Happiness - What more can you want? has nine short stories. I will not give spoilers on any of them, except reveal that they are all about human relationships. Each story and it's plot is different, so is the treatment given to it. A wide range of situations have been spun into the stories and if you are reading attentively, you might sit back and think a bit. 

The author's style of writing is simple. Simple, correct and easy-flowing. There are a few editing/proof-reading mistakes, but you will not notice them in the flow of the stories. I did, because that's what my profession is.

I was amazed by a new author's choice of subjects and how easily he spun the web for each individual story. Before I began reading, I noticed the author has mentioned that some of the characters in the stories can be seen present in other stories as well. And they were. Surprisingly, the characters were same, but they didn't bring a baggage of the previous story to the current one. However, if one attempts to, they can spin the individual stories together and create a single, new story.

At the end of each story in Love, Peace & Happiness - What more can you want? there are multiple online links given, which you can visit for alternative ends to the story.

My rating: 4/5

[This review was requested by the author, and is not a paid review. It is an honest opinion after reading the book] 

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