Saturday, March 7, 2015

Drenched Souls (Moonlit Matinee 2) - Book Review

Drenched Souls - Moonlit Matinee 2
Compiled By Pulkit Gupta
Edited By Harshita Srivastava
Review By Ila Garg

The anthology comprising of 23 remarkably beautiful short stories, Drenched Souls - Moonlit Matinee 2, has been published by Gargi Publishers. The printing quality of books by this publication house has always been its strength. All the stories are well written and deal with the various different shades of love.
Let’s start with the cover. One word - A breath of fresh air! :D Well, yes the cover of the anthology, Drenched Souls - Moonlit Matinee 2, is interesting, and not a mess. The back cover has all the names of the contributors and an apt blurb. The anthology has a beautiful foreword by Tanya Shrivastava. Next, let’s talk about the stories one by one. As I personally feel that without talking about each story individually, the review wouldn’t be complete and it wouldn’t be a justified review of this anthology. I don’t want anyone to feel left out, so here you go:
  1. IT TOOK ME FOREVER TO FIND YOU by Bhavya Kaushik: This story has nothing new to offer. I had high expectations from Bhavya but the story left me disappointed. The language is simple, a few clichés used here and there, all in all not too impressive. Quoting from the story, “People say that time travels at different pace for different people. At that moment, when everything around me was moving at its usual speed, my insides were halted for an instance.”
  2. ONE MORE KISS IN THE RAIN by Rachna Sheth: This story is engrossing. Kabir and Stella make a perfect pair and take the readers along with them as they get drenched in their rain-romance. The language is equally engaging, and the short poetries in between keep up with the mood. The climax sure is appalling! Quoting from the story, “Rain, isn’t the word enough to take your heart away? Well, I just didn’t lose my heart but everything else that was possessed by me, on that rainy day.
  3. I PROMISE YOU by Abhishek Vipul Thakkar: This story moves around a surreal experience. After it ended, I felt a sense of incompleteness, maybe the author can work more on building up a climax. It was a different kind of plot, though not well put up. I liked how Lord Krishna became the integral part in this story. Quoting from the story, “I promise you that I will love someone else but that someone else would be our daughter.
  4. IN THE NAME OF LOVE by Nikita Nepali: Grandma narrating her love story to her grand-daughter! Indeed, an interesting plot! It is no doubt, a nice read, though the end was slightly predictable. The climax will leave the readers with tears in their eyes and a smile of satisfaction on lips gathered from the firm belief in love. A story written with a deep emotional touch. Quoting from the story, “Just two lines and my heart melted. I started smiling. I knew Jay was not a very good singer but when he sang, I just loved it. The rains were definitely a catalyst to our love. I hugged him tight as he again sang those two lines. I was blushing.”
  5. BLESSINGS FROM HEAVEN by Elora Rath: I loved the manner in which Elora started the story; the description seemed flawless! The language and vocabulary used is tasteful and impressive. I felt, the plot could have been presented in a better manner though. Quoting from the story, “The story was unfolding beautifully in her mind and making its vivid impressions on the MS Word document as she was furiously typing on her laptop to complete the story somehow that night.”
  6. A MAN OF WORDS by Chandrapal Khasiya: This story was engulfed with a sense of mystery. I had goose bumps by the time I reached the end. A well written story. Language is easy to comprehend and pace too is comfortable. Quoting from the story, “And I am a Sharma. We are men of words and we don’t usually give up so easily.”
  7. A DOLLOP OF ROMANCE by Barkha Parikh: A simple story of love laced with romance and few unsaid words. All in all the letter and note was the highlight and so was the sweet surprise. Two words for the story - Cute and Romantic! Quoting from the story, “There she was sitting at the coffee-table by the window watching the drizzle outside and sipping her favourite Orange-Hazelnut coffee… just the way ‘HE’ liked it- Strong, Rich and Frothy.”
  8. LOST IN THE CLOUDS by Nitin Shill: Simple, easy to understand language. Even the pace is kept sooth for the readers; could have been developed a little more. Quoting from the story, “The imprints of the cake were still there on the wall representing the romantic celebration of their first anniversary which then transformed into an even more romantic cake fight. Those marks too irritated him. He wanted to flee away from everything that reminded him of his less fortunate past.”
  9. FORBIDDEN LOVE by Jonali Karmakar: A story that is overpowered by hope and despair. The climax comes as soon as the story begins but the pace and language is comforting. Quoting from the story, “Surprisingly, it wasn’t her beauty that caught his attention. Rather it was the endless sorrow that Barkha so carefully pursed in her unsmiling mouth.
  10. THE MONSOON MAGIC by Durgesh Shastri: An unfulfilled story of love, ending with a ray of hope. It was a good narration. The plot was well developed too. Quoting from the story, “The rain had completely stopped by then, leaving me alone to cherish those memories. As I wiped my entire face using a kerchief, the white piece of cloth gathered stains of crimson color on it. The traces of her lipstick had adorned my lips all the while.”
  11. AND THE REASON IS YOU by Arunima Kumar: The editing errors in this story were a major put off - ‘sight’ was spelled as ‘site’ and many more such mistakes. The story majorly lacked in its grip. Quoting from the story, “Every girl dreams of a perfect date with that perfect MAN. I feel the same. Obviously I am yet another girl who is just too romantic at heart. But luckily, I have never been in the dreadful relationship mess.”
  12. DOWN THE MEMORY LANE by Harsh Rai Puri: A well-knit story that doesn’t bore the readers. Also, the pace is gripping and plot is engaging without any artifice. Language is flawless too and the story runs in a continuous stream of memories. Quoting from the story, “An accidental brush with his arm sent a tingle up my spine and I tried to capture the pain and pleasure of the moment. I do not recollect fully what happened later but that moment lingers on and I can still feel the gasp of pleasure whenever I think of it.”
  13. WHAT IS LOVE… by Aashi Dahiya: A story that delves deep to find the real meaning of ‘love’. Indeed a nice narration, though could have been a little more interesting. Quoting from the story, “Someone once told me that love is an indefinable emotion which brings down every other emotion and stays at the top. The elderly love in front of me had grown over in the past.”
  14. REVENGE OF HUMILIATION by Alok Vats: This story is well thought of. The narrative could be a little better but the story line was good and overshadowed the flaws. Language is simple and easy to comprehend. Quoting from the story, “I was running like Milkha Singh ran in the last shot of Bhag Milkha Bhag, and the thought of DDLJ was going inside my mind.”
  15. AND SO IT HAPPENED… by Anshulika Bansal: Language used is good and so is the vocabulary. A little more concentrated editing would have been great. The story was well developed. Quoting from the story, “From the corner of my eyes, I can see him mesmerized by my laughter, awestricken by my cute dimple on the left cheek and intoxicated by my voice.”
  16. TEARS AND RAIN CHANGE DESTINIES by Anmol Ratan Sachdeva: A nice and impressive storyline, with an equally good language and pace. Nisha and Adarsh blend in the story perfectly. Quoting from the story, “It was in these moments that he wished that the monsoons should pay him back what they had snatched from him years back. He wanted a loving person in his life.”
  17. A FISHERMAN’S LOVE TALE by Rakshitha Girish: A simple and sweet love story that begins with a tragedy. Pace is comfortable and there is nothing complex about this story. Quoting from the story, “I began picturising myself as Bella (from twilight) and he was my Edward. He had saved me from being more hurt.”
  18. LOVE THAT COMPLETES by Ummul Fazal Fatima Khan: A very quick read and different plot! It is narrated with grace, though the climax comes in a bit too fast. Quoting from the story, “I have been a spectator to the celebrations of the marriage of my three sisters. I had seen them becoming brides in those red wedding dress and leaving home with their husbands, later indulging into their own household affairs.”
  19. HALE AND HEARTILY, YOURS FOREVER by Ashwati Menon: A well-developed story and umbrella becomes an integral part of the plot. Language is simple and I loved the way the story unfolds; can be visualised while reading! Quoting from the story, “Out of nowhere, a clap of thunder and a deep rumble set off the first rains. Many of the office-goers remained marooned as the rains drenched the thirsty land of Gujarat.”
  20. LOVE AT FIRST SIGHT by Shishir Dhingra: A beautiful story, captivating narrative, and a nice blend of emotions. Pace is comfortable and goes well with the readers. Quoting from the story, “While my conscious mind was dreaming about my best friend’s love at first sight heroic story, my subconscious mind passively ordered me to apply breaks on sensing the red light in front.”
  21. THE SKY’S TEARS by Shravya Gunipudi: The narration is done well. The language is easy to comprehend and the story seems interesting from the beginning. Quoting from the story, “He saw her on the side of the street, kneeling over something. Upon looking closer, he realized it was a tiny puppy. She patted the top of its head before bending forward to kiss it in the same place.”
  22. THAT RAINY AFTERNOON by Shruti Patole Clarence: This one is interesting, laced with romance. This love story reaches the climax as beautifully as it begins. Quoting from the story, “He had bought ‘her’ favourite box of chocolates and had rushed over to her house to give her this news. It was about the same time of the year, the rains were showering their blessings all over the earth.”
  23. PHENOMENAL LOVE by Mangala: A very maturely written love story. Language is profound and pace is comfortable. Readers will enjoy this ride. Definitely a good story to end the anthology with! Quoting from the story, “It became a daily practice for them to meet in the park and talk about their children, grand-children and the phone calls received from them.”
Overall, a nice anthology with all the shining contributors. It begins on a low key but gradually as we reach towards the end, the stories get gripping and impressive! Though on the editing front, a lot of improvement is required because it really kept coming in the way of the reading experience. The typeset was as beautiful as the cover. Pulkit Gupta has compiled the stories very well as he selected stories that brought out different flavours of love perfectly.
Rating: 3/5
Buying Links: Infibeam | Amazon | Flipkart

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