My name is Deep R. Downer, a fiction writer and a multiple published author based in the NCR of India.
I have known Raghav Gautam for 30 something years, and if there is one opinion that I had formed about him years back and that still holds as true today, it is that his heart is true. He feels everything to the very core; whether he chooses to express them indicatively or not being another topic of debate. Hence, it was binding upon me to do so, and my pleasure, when he sent me an ARC and asked me to write a foreword for his book.
There are books you read for their storyline, others you read for their descriptive narration, while still others you do just because they are from your favorite author and you being a loyal reader cannot not read them. Beside all these, there is another category of books one cannot help but read for its sheer honesty. ‘Hope? I Hope Not!’ is one such collection of 16 short stories, each one rallying around an emotion, a feeling, a value, and/or a human belief. Some of them will touch you, some might sensitize you, while other will shake you to the very core and you will be left staring into oblivion, wondering at the truthfulness of the words. Despite being a writer myself and an overtly avid reader, I couldn’t help but read a few of those stories multiple times, and every time I reread them, I discovered an altogether new emotion. Such is the multi-layered authority the author has over his writing. I thank Raghav for giving me this opportunity to read the book and write this foreword! Honestly, this book has helped me discover new traits in my personality that I didn’t even know existed.
In the end, I congratulate Raghav on having written this gem and request him to continue being honest to yourself, keep feeling with the heart and keep writing. The world today definitely needs more such true to heart literature for the coming generations to read and benefit.
D. R. Downer