The Mobile Phone by Pankaj Suneja

The Mobile Phone by Pankaj Suneja

Review by Shwetha H S

The Mobile Phone is a novelette by Pankaj Suneja that tries to explain to the readers what trauma a person who has lost his nearest and dearest ones goes through. The author has done this job through the characters Rohit and Prabhu. In this story, it is shown how trauma can go unnoticed, and can lead to depression and psychotic disorders. Prabhu, a child still in school, loses his mother and Rohit, a college going student, loses his best friend and roommate Kumar. What happens to them while dealing with the trauma of loss is the essence of this novelette.

The narration is slightly confusing in this book. The author has tried to experiment with a new method of narration, but leaves the reader confused. The first person narration is what creates the problem here. The second half of the book is very similar to the author’s another book, Gulabi. Moreover, Prabhu’s illusions feel like they have been taken out of Harry Potter series. Maybe he has read that series and imagines them to be part of his real world. In the beginning, it is explained in a way that the reader understands Prabhu’s father is bedridden. But in the second half of the novelette, he is up and walking all about. This abruptness doesn’t go well with readers at all.  Apart from talking about psychosis through this novelette, the author has tried to talk about homosexuality too through Rohit and Kumar. If this is not what the author has intended to do, then this is exactly how it is represented in the book, and it is good.

If you are looking for a book to finish reading in a day, just to read for the sake it or interested in psychosis, then go for this book.

Twisting My Kaleidoscope by Shannon Love

Twisting My Kaleidoscope by Shannon Love

Review by Shwetha H S

What happens when a loving mother, wife and friend becomes psychotic? What happens to her doting family? How do her friends and extended family deal with this situation? How long do they have to suffer with a lunatic female who doesn’t realize that she is losing her mind?

Shannon Love is an expat residing in Beijing along with her husband Charles and three children. She has many friends in the expat community. They all have been living out of USA for so long that Beijing is their home now. An annual medical check up brings out reports about Shannon’s abnormal heart rates. Though her health is perfect, concerns about her heart don’t fade away. One thing leading to another, Shannon slowly develops a mental condition in which she imagines situations which are not true and listens to voices inside her head. Her husband’s company, unable to risk the health of expats, deports her for a time being to her home town in USA. She gets hospitalized to improve her condition. When things take a turn for betterment, they come back to Beijing. But is she cured completely? Does her psychosis relapse? What does her close circle of people do?

Shannon Love’s memoir is about her life with a psychotic condition and how her family and friends dealt with it. Her intention behind writing Twisting My Kaleidoscope is to let others know what a psychosis patient goes through and what the patient’s family goes through. As she has mentioned in the book, she has altered the events and situations in the narration to keep certain people out of the book due to privacy reasons. Apart from that, it is good book for one time read and is actually entertaining.

Gulabi by Pankaj Suneja

Review by Shwetha H S

The book opens with a very good quote of Calvin in the movie Ruby Sparks. From that quote, you can easily comprehend the theme of the story. I will not mention the quote here for the sake of the story. This story strengthens the general notions about relationships; one, long distance relationships seldom work and two, as humans we have a constant desire to be in a relationship. It will seem like the author is experimenting with parallel narration, but you will get to know later that he is not. The author describes the thought patterns of a needy mind very well. He writes “As time passed, Monty grew needier. He began to expect a relationship to develop from every conversation. But he did not have the confidence to approach anyone. As soon as he would share a little bit of himself in a conversation, he imagined that he had fallen in love and expected the other to be his girlfriend/boyfriend.” You might feel abandoned by the author at points like where he simply lets you assume that Virginia and Monty exchanged numbers without mentioning it in the narration. You will also wonder why and how Waqas sent his wedding invitation to Monty though they didn’t know each other. Or did Virginia forward the wedding invitation to Monty? At points like these you will yearn for some clarification from the author. The first chapter shows two different characters; Waqas, who is happy living a life under his father’s control and Virginia, who is free to follow her will. In the second chapter, you are made to understand that any decision not taken at the right time will make other’s life hell. Here the author also talks about pseudo social stigma, its effect on victims and their survival. And from there on the narration goes with the flow. The author tells you about the strange thoughts that can occupy your mind when you are lonely. Such thoughts will make you wonder about the difference between your reality and fantasy. You will start seeking assurance from people around you. When you reach the end of the story, you won’t believe it is indeed the end. Only then will you receive clarifications for your initial doubts in the story and narration. Yet, by the time you finish reading the last sentence, new questions might have risen, in a good way, and you will be demanding for a lot of explanation and closure. Narration is simple and not overloaded with adjectives intentionally to decorate or prolong the narration. Characterization is neat. It will definitely make a good read for you any day.