Title: Happy Birthday and Other Stories
Author: Meghna Pant
Publisher:Vintage Books - Random House India
Snapshot: This is a collection of 13 short stories centered around human, behaviour and its change with time and circumstances mostly migration to a foreign country or the journey's of foreigners to India. These stories strike through the heart mercilessly at some point or the other.
The Stories from the Critics Perspective: Meghna Pant's first book "One and a Half Wife" was beautifully written (review here http://thereaderscosmos.blogspot.in/2012/11/one-and-half-wife-by-meghna-pant.html ) and therefore she is one of the few authors I have interviewed (http://thereaderscosmos.blogspot.in/2013/02/when-i-first-read-title-one-and-half.html). I really appreciate authors who can change their genre, writing styles, form etc, they are truly versatile and can cater to the need of the readers which always is - variety. So it was great to see that this time Meghna chose to write short stories - something I love and from my discussions with various authors - a not so easy form of writing. I congratulate Meghna for she has done her job well.
The stories as I said earlier are all centered around human behaviour and feelings and how they change with situations. These aren't stories that would lighten up your day, but they would force you to think more about human nature- your nature.
All the stories are good. There wasn't one that was not interesting. However the best ones are, starting from the first one which is The Gola Master, where Meghna strikes the sword through your heart most mercilessly. Hoopsters, the next in the line is a story that will stay with you forever. Happy Birthday - the story that is the book's title too is simple and smart. Friends, well it will make you cry. Lemon and Chilli, highly recommended for people abroad/ planning to go abroad or youngsters in general. Think before you judge your parents - is the message. The Message and The Bailout are cleverly cruel. After Ashes is very different from them all, a wonderful tale. Shaitans, her last blow will surely kill you with love.
Positives: All the stories, the writing style in each and the message is different, though they are centered around a common theme. This is difficult and brilliantly done by Meghna. In most stories I couldnt and didnt want to predict what happens next, I was happy to flow with the story.
Negatives: Two of the stories The Gecko on the Wall and Clip and cane are predictable. Though Lemon and Chilli also is but I just loved the way it was presented.
The Verdict: Highly Recommended for short story lovers. 4 stars on 5.
About The Author:
Grab a Copy Now!!! http://www.flipkart.com/happy-birthday-other-stories/p/itmdhxafn3p9yke7
I thank Random House India for a copy of the book.