Urban Shots is an anthology of short stories. Writing short stories is a tricky terrain. The writer needs to introduce the characters, tell the story, make a connection with the reader and give/imply a conclusion all within a few pages. If not written well, they just leave the reader hanging in there. Even when written nicely, it leaves you wanting for more.
Urban life is defined by busy mornings, chaotic traffic, bustling through the crowds, vying for space and time. This modern-day Indian urban life filled with optimism, ambitions and on the flip side a stressful life where space and time are a luxury, lends itself perfectly to the short story format. The tales here are written by multiple authors, from multiple cities and from multiple perspectives giving you a peek into urban relationships, bringing you all different flavors of Urban shots.
The book is compilation of 28 stories by 13 different Indian authors edited by Paritosh Uttam. This is the début book of Grey Oak Publications India. The authors are from various backgrounds including Kainaz Motivala of ‘Wake Up Sid’ fame. These tales are very much relate-able. After all it is about relationships, love, friendship, pain, marriage and infidelity. The stories are put into sections Relationships, Love, Friendship, Angst and Longing giving the set of stories a sort of flow.
My top favorites tales were “Apple Pie and Grey Sweater” by Prateek Gupta, “Replay” by Paritosh Uttam and Malathi Jaikumar’s Liberation. Angst my fave section and the top author is clearly Paritosh Uttam.
Apple pie and Grey Sweater is a story about two friends Prayas and Purvi who are friends from their college time and have a thing for each other but haven’t confessed to each other or probably don’t even know that they love each other. Now after college, Prayas lives in Pune and Purvi in Bangalore. Prayas has had a particularly tiresome day when Purvi calls up to say she’s getting married. He is taken by surprise and just manages to congratulate her and ask if she is happy. The call brings back all the memories of how they met and all the time spent together and how much he likes her. Does he manage to confess his love for her, does she reciprocate, Do they get hitched? Read to find out.
Replay is about Lata, a gullible woman from Mumbai who trusted people, once married and then abandoned for another woman. A replay of one situation in her life helps her resolve the dilemma in another one. In an instant she knows just what to do.
Liberation is about an uneducated woman in Chennai, married with two kids and an abusive husband. How she finds a solution to put an end to her misery and comes out a liberated woman is the story.
The others that I liked reading where Serendipity, Stick figures, A cup of tea, Effacing memories, Mood for love, Trail and Error. I also liked Ahmed Faiyaz’s style of writing. The rest are ok. The only ones that let me down were ‘Women in Love’ and ‘The Enlightened One’.
If you like reading Indian authors and enjoy short stories, this one is for you. Even if you are not the kind who enjoys short stories, give it a try. A good read on the go. A small dose of fiction, every now and then will brighten up your day
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