Life and the Grey Notes
By Mayank S. Sengar
Review By Ila Garg
Life and the Grey Notes, a novel by Mayank S. Sengar, is published by Zorba Books. The cover is very high on detailing. It’s a dark and complex cover, so can have variable opinions. Some readers might feel confused and put off while others, may feel intrigued. I tried to be neutral and saw a jeweller’s board peeping through a complex network of wires. Could not much understand what the author was trying to convey through a cover like this, but then maybe he wanted us to see life as it is—very complex; everything is right before our eyes and yet we fail to see everything!
Mayank Sengar hails from a family of culturalists based in the holy city of Varanasi. He is blessed with a keen eye for detail and a fine sense of appreciation for life’s varied experiences in equal measure, glimpses of which can be found in his work. He has a talent for being able to connect easily with people from varied spheres of life, and this reflects beautifully in the way the characters in his stories are very real, very compelling, irrespective of which strata of society they belong to.
Mayank currently lives in Gurgaon with his wife and two lovely kids.
The blurb reads as, “The stories in this collection brings home the simple truths of human nature, the essential human ingredients. The author has you reflecting, smiling, as you relate intimately to the characters and situations that people these stories.
From the inescapable dilemma of a tea stall owner caught in the mesh of societal hypocrisy, to the inherent tendency to presume and judge that lurks within each one of us, the cherished place we accord to individual faith and the element of divinity, the intricately entwined threads of emotion in the Indian ethos can all be derived from this collection of experiences in form of a book. The turning point in some stories where the protagonist emerges as a hero or confronts his own inevitable human frailties will warm many a heart, cutting across reader demographics such as age, geography and language.
Heartwarming, thought-provoking, yet light and humorous, this collection makes an ideal read with your leisurely cuppa chai...”
The 10 stories are centred on the theme of life and its complexities. In a line, the book is a mirror unto life. It gives a realistic picture of life and doesn’t go into exaggeration. Mayank has managed to unleash his observation skills through these stories. Each story is well written as he has picked various human traits; some subtle while the others not that much. Interestingly, Mayank has drawn the inspiration for most of the stories from his very own life.
The ten short stories compiled in the book are:
1. Inside Bermuda Triangle
2. The Evening Call
3. Hoping for Hope
4. Who’s the Pet?
5. The Golden Fear
6. The Religious Atheist
7. Blood Group H+
8. Let’s Judge
9. The Unlucky Betrayal
10. The God Particle
All the story titles are unique and give you so much to think about. The stories penned down by Mayank bring out a different aspect of human behaviour even after being based on one single subject, i.e. life.
The author has successfully portrayed deep and hidden realities. The language is simple and easy to comprehend. Readers will find the events quite interesting. I found it genuinely engaging. The subject is tackled beautifully by the skillful author. You don’t have to relate to all the stories to enjoy them. The lucidity that comes into play while narrating the stories is marvelous!
How Mayank’s hometown Varanasi becomes the centre stage of all affairs, how a father waits for his son’s calls as he breaths his last, how a retired man starts his quest for peace in a modern techno-savvy world are some of the many reasons why you will keep turning the pages to find out what happens in each of the stories in Life and the Grey Notes.
Further, this 144-page book is good enough to expose the double standards of society we live in, the hidden secrets and the deep seated fears that we all have. It’s a light read and overall a compelling book.
P.S. - I got the book from Cyclops Literary Services in exchange of an honest review.