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Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Book Review : 'A Life of Adventure and Delight' by Akhil Sharma



'A Life of Adventure and Delight' is Akhil Sharma’s collection of eight stories, that focus on Indians, who live in the country and overseas. It contains all kinds of stories, but they have one thing in common, a melancholic side to each of them.  

The first one, ‘Cosmopolitan’ speaks of an abandoned man, left behind first by his daughter, followed by his wife. It speaks of his divorce and how he comes to terms with it. Gopal’s challenges with the whole process, is kind of funny. There is a touch of comedy to his entire mode of behaviour as a newly single man, who attempts to date a lady, with the help of magazines like ‘Cosmopolitan’. 

‘Surrounded by Sleep’ talks of a ten year old boy and the terrible accident his brother Birju  has, in which he is left without speech, without being able to eat, chew, or even roll over in sleep. Ajay finds himself prayimg to God or Superman, and also talks to him, and the constant conversation between the Ajay and Superman is the highlight of this story. 

The third story is ‘We Didn’t Like Him’ which, follows the central character and his cousin Manshu, from the time he is 14. Manshu is an odd boy, whom nobody really likes, due to his irritating habits. But, it is his losing his parents, one after the other that he changes. A change so tremendous, that Manshu soon becomes the local pandit. A pandit, who marries out of his caste, has two children and a sick wife too. The sadness of the boy does not end and you follow his grief into all his life too, but you are not really allowed to feel good or bad for Manshu, and you are seeing his character change and grow through the eyes of his cousin.

‘If You Sing Like That For Me’ is an interesting story, of a girl and her ‘love’ story. Her husband, who seems mild mannered and has a gentle way of expressing his love. She discovers this at odd times, the time she takes up a job as a typist, the time she falls ill, the time he cooks for her, the trip they both take to the Taj Mahal, and even the time she could not miss him, whenever he went on his trips. The time her father falls sick, and even the time they make love, but during this time, is when she falls in love. Four more stories to be read and finished, then I will close this book, and put away to be read at another time.

A Life of Adventure and Delight’ may not be perfect title for this band of eight stories. Weird adventures and a sly delight seem to spread inside me, as I continued to read them all. It did kind of touch me in funny ways, because they are all so different from each other; they have their own sense. It is a book that I do not have the heart to put down, instead to dwell on the stories, as they finish.

You can Buy the Book, right here. 

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