Something Old, Something New: A Fresh Second Take on Romance
I had been away from Indian Indie writers for a long time, and then I fell out of reading. However, things turned when my Kindle suggested this novel, which is a collection of novellas. Yes, Kindle did suggest the novel. I could recognize the names of the authors, a couple of them being from my friend-list, and I dug deep inside. And as I started diving into them, the love for the local Indie flavor began, which has taken me to different writers till now (not all as great though).
I would like to thank these amazing 7 authors,
- Aarti V. Raman
- Andaleeb Wajid
- Devika Fernando
- Neil D’Silva
- Preethi Venugopala
- Ruchi Singh
- Shilpa Suraj
I would like to be biased and start with Aarti’s story. I found this story to be taking me through emotions that the author wanted me to feel, it got me so immersed that it was hard for me. And I’m not into romance genre really, but this one set the tone for me. Aarti’s ‘No Other Love’ follows the tale of a divorced doctor couple, on separate paths, in separate towns, and what happens when they come back together – because the raw passion between them has never gone.
Andaleeb Wajid’s ‘Coming Home’ follows the homecoming of Jehangir, to a place where he has been running away since his girlfriend’s marriage. He finds Meesha divorced. And the magic beings. The major part of Andaleeb’s story is the emotions, or rather the walk away from the emotions portrayed beautifully, yet brutally. It is interesting to note how a female author’s best character is Jehangir, and I learned valuable lessons on writing a character through Andaleeb’s Jehangir.
It would not be wrong to say that I’ve followed Devika Fernando’s work the most among all the authors, so finally coming to read ‘Paper Hearts and Promises’ was a pleasant surprise. Her book titles and covers gave me the idea of a romantic tales set in foreign locales, and so forth. While reading, I realized this is her world, and she is the master of this universe where different worlds collide to form a beautiful fusion. Although Australian Luke and Taara are years and continents apart, owing to some misunderstandings and the households.
Preethi Venugopala’s ‘My Warmest Sorrow’ has her challenging herself to take on a regular done-to-death plot of inter-religious lovers, leaving it due to society, families, and other divides. The cliches end here, though. Preethi’s take is refreshing because of her writing style where the present of Diana and Ajay – both hiding their stories, are intermixed with the past – only for the reader to yearn for them to spill the beans to each other. Preethi involves the readers as a cheerleader through her novel approach to an old theme.
Ruchi Singh’s ‘Never Stopped Loving You’ is a plot that has elements of suspense, while there are betrayals, anger, vengeance; yet riding above a little feeling called ‘love’. The divorcee couple Arjun and Radhika meet again, fighting their pasts, letting the outbursts through, yet riding on to uncover the truth behind their break-up.
Shilpa Suraj’s ‘My Heart’s Regret’ is a winner because her character is named Raghav. Actually, the story of Samaira and Raghav, her driver’s son, has the usual flair of the rich-poor divide. Yet, the layering of the characters and the detailing, like how the door is opened, for example, makes this a compelling read. Also, the theme showcases that once childhood lovers, now far apart, won’t likely end up being together. Yet, the heart is cheering for them.
Neil D’Silva’s take on the theme is surprising. I had been wondering how it fit on second chance till I started making my notes for this review. And now that I’ve got it, I cannot even share it, much like the rest of the story of the rich orphan ‘Vimal Kapoor’, who can get anything he desires, until he falls for a poor girl with a deep dark secret, ‘Yamini Gupta’. Her secret is the reason for the title ‘Blood Red Love’, and I’ll leave you at that.
‘Something New, Something Old’ isn’t the first time an anthology is presented. Yet, it one fit into one theme and had so many beautiful stories put together, that I was too drawn into it. It has helped me open up to more of the Indie world with a local flavor, something which I can relate more closely. Also, it has made me realize that romance isn’t as bad as I used to think. Overall, I liked that every story was arranged in alphabetical order of the author’s name except Neil’s, which came at last. It’s almost as if care has been given to every aspect of this collection.