A Ticklish Affair and Other Stories

Many Thanks to Rupa Publications for a chance to review this book.

A Ticklish Affair and Other Stories is a collection of 10 short stories by the twin brother duo Sunil and Sudhir Kapoor. I am not much into reading short stories, but when given a chance to read and review this book by Rupa Publications, I thought of giving it a go. There are a lot of accolades attached to some of the stories in the book and as a reader, it is evident where the attraction is coming from. 

First off, I loved the gorgeous cover of the book. It’s really beautiful and eye-catching. And now I am going into a little detailed review, so fair warning guys, don’t get bored! 😛

Blackmail is the story of Ravi who as a young boy sees his father cheated by their unscrupulous lawyer and thus evicted from the only home they have. As a grown-up, he achieves success in life and gets married to an extremely beautiful woman but life has more hardships in store for him. 

The story of Ravi and how karma can be a bitch to all those who cheats and lies for their benefit is one of the best short story in this book. I kept thinking that Blackmail by itself could have been a thriller because it had immense material for the same and even though there’s nothing new in the whole mystery reveal, the story has promise.

Let me Soar High captures the terror of the nation after the incident of ‘Nirbhaya’ wherein the whole nation came to standstill hearing about the brutal crime that was committed against a young girl. Devika is an aspiring young dancer for whom fate stuck a raw deal turning her life into a nightmare. Thankfully the authors kept the abuse scenes to the minimum coz no matter the number of books that I have read which has even more detailed atrocities mentioned, it is still a painful topic to read about.

I loved the positivity conveyed in the story but honestly thought the subject needed a little more sensitivity and understanding, the trauma that Devika endures doesn’t get conveyed to the reader much with PTSD and counseling given just a casual mention.

 Masqueraders from the North is based on a real-life story about how a placement agency run by a couple manages to swindle poor farmers of their hard-earned money promising them greener pastures. However, this story also shows us how even the rich and educated men of the world can fall for such schemes and be duped into giving away their life’s earnings. I didn’t understand the point of introducing a friend who gets doubtful about the too-good-to-be-true proposals but soon succumbs to a disease and dies.

Rickshaw Faridabadi, well the first thing I loved about the story is its title. It has a certain charm to it. Rich girl loves a rickshaw puller, gets separated and instead of the run of the mill Bollywood story of reuniting with him, the authors come up with an unexpected play of fate. This was the only story in the whole book in which I thought there was something different in offer. But again, there was a lack of sympathy that should have been conveyed to the reader which was missing and thus story failed to connect with me.

A Ticklish Affair is the oft-repeated tale of extra-marital affair which goes no-where. Honestly, this one story never even tickled my senses. What were the authors trying to capture with this affair de Coeur is beyond my understanding.

The Kikar Tree takes us to a deserted barren land in a small village in Rajasthan where a lone traveler is attacked by a tiger but he manages to escape from the jaws of death by climbing a Kikar tree. And like in most cases, the tree is given religious prominence and a crooked sadhu uses his guile to swindle and hoodwink miserable souls. Once again, a story that feels like old wine but the mastery in writing mitigates it. It was an easy read that took no time to finish.

Agnates and Cognates– Ha, the smile on my face having added these 2 words to my vocabulary. Interesting subject matter that had a total ‘filmy’ ending and perfect for a Bollywood masala. As a matter of fact, there have been countless movies with the same plot line so I guess it’s to be favored as a sure-winner.

Tiger Trail, as the name suggests focuses on the dreadful activities involved in poaching. It is a story of 2 orphans who are given choices in life and one takes the route of evil while the other becomes an officer of the law. Tiger Trail shows how the 2 friends end up with totally different ways of life and how the path we choose takes us to our destiny.

There’s again immense potential in this for a full-fledged story that I wanted a few more pages that can add details to the characters of Bunty and Laxmi.

Spark of the Divine has an atheist doctor, Dr. Sanjay who is renowned in the world for his breakthrough in cancer treatments and he is immensely wealthy. But all the wealth in the world cannot save him when he, unfortunately, finds himself in the middle of a forest with no help near-by. It is his journey towards believing that there is a power above us. Spark of the Divine was touching and heartfelt for its simplicity.

A Lover’s Message felt like a chapter from A Message in a Bottle by Nicholas Sparks. It has a similar plot line of lovers finding each other after years apart thru the help of a stranger. The authors, however, have failed to instill any warmth to main characters and even the part of the blossoming love felt tepid in comparison.

On the whole, A Ticklish Affair and Other Stories have a couple of good stories but most of the others had a rushed feel maybe coz of the short version format. Recommended for readers who like a quick and short read.

P.S: Why oh why are there pictures of the authors with various dignitaries smack in the middle of the book? 😔

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