Raghunath Babu Are

The Departing Point by Santosh Avvannavar, Jyothi Byahatti and Raghunath Babu Are

Review by Shwetha H S

The Departing Point is a book of short stories that claims to be about how love is lost when one of the two people in a relationship change. But the way these short stories are narrated, they make the readers feel that the man in each story thinks the woman he likes or loves is his property and is in objectifying mode.

The first short story, My Last Letter, is about a man mourning the loss of his love, a woman who chose to chase her dreams instead of settling down with him at an early age. This man says that he was quite lenient in letting her have her ways to fulfil her aspirations with a hope to marry her someday. When I read this, I was like “Dude, you have no rights on her as she is not your possession and you were no one to decide whether or not let her should go ahead with her aspirations.” This idea in his mind is what screwed up his thoughts, irrespective of what she says before dying.

The second short story, Derailed Salem Express, is about a college going boy who is confused between two girls with whom he claims to be in love. This is not a story about love, but only about the boy’s physical needs. The story is dragged without any reason.

The third short story, Julie Loves Me, starts in a college in Vizag and ends in Australia. Here, love is actually lost due to twist and turns in the lives of two people in a relationship. The woman in question decides to abandon the man when he is denied visa due to his terminal illness and chooses to move on in life with someone else.

The fourth short story, Checklist Love, is about a boy who refers to his checklist of love whenever he comes across any pretty girl to verify if he can love her or not. When I read this story, I was like “what the hell? Why is this story even included here? This is not a story of love lost. There is no love to start with. This boy is not in love, but is just happy to find someone who fulfils all the criteria he has in his list. Then why is he cribbing about the girl’s behaviour?”

The fifth short story, My Cinderella, ends before starting, with the differences and misunderstandings between the families of girl and boy. When they you cannot fight for your love, then why love at all?

The sixth short story, Open and Closed Love, is about a fickle minded girl who exploits the feelings of a loving boy who leaves her when he realizes what she is doing. While reading this, I was like why in the world is this boy not understanding that she is playing with him on to find some comfort for herself?

The seventh short story, Na Paki Na Gulab Nadir Ko Baksh Do Janab, is more of a comedy than story of lost love. Paki realizes her mistake and apologizes to Nadir, who by then would have found Gulab, but decides not go with either of them and moves on with his singlehood.

These stories will leave you in the “meh” feeling. Read them at your own risk.

Title is Untitled by Santosh Avvannavar, Kundan Srivastava and Raghunath Babu Are

Review by Shwetha H S

Title is Untitled is an attempt at addressing the social stigmas surrounding us, that bothers us and yet we don’t do much to get rid of them. This book serves as a reminder for us to help others who are suffering due to social evils and are in turn called as stigma.

Title is Untitled is a book of short stories and each story deals with a different social issue.

  • Kamali: The Desires of My Heart address the problem of treating daughters as a burden and marrying them off to anybody forcibly just to get rid of this so called burden.
  • Sahana: A Game of Love, Lust and Repetitive Compulsion address the problem of domestic violence and the irritating mentality of older generation that thinks that marriage solves every problem and if it doesn’t, having a baby will.
  • My Fantasy Boyfriend talks about BDSM. Here, the author writes that sex without marriage or out of marriage is bad and especially if it is in the BDSM category. Author still needs to grow up to understand that people who are into such activities are already aware of the consequences and are in control of their lives.
  • Ek Tha Kapoor addresses the problems that the loopholes in the IPC 498a (laws against dowry harassment) create for innocent people and how mean and cunning people make use these loopholes to extract money.
  • Azad Bharat – 1957, a story set in newly independent India, addresses the issue of terming people of specific sects as criminals and how witnesses can be bought for a price just to close a case.
  • Sperman is a complicated story which involves premeditated rapes and issues of trying to have children with another person when spouse is impotent.
  • Vishnu Prasad Sharma ki Ph.D throws light upon the mentality of certain people who opt for higher studies only in the desire to get more amount of dowry. This story also dabbles with the issue of education scams across India that help people get fake degree certificates.
  • Dilwale Dulha Le Jayenge is supposed to deal with the practice of kidnapping men to marry them off to women who don’t find grooms. But the authors have gone off track from storyline.
  • I Institute of B talks about the problem of beggars in India and why they won’t quit begging even when they are provided with a job.
  • Retirement: A Concept of the Past is not a short story. It is more of an essay about how all our life we are only struggling to have a better retirement life instead of enjoying our present.

The authors have done a great job of waking up the readers to the social issues around us, but also have made a mistake of not understanding the concepts before addressing them in some stories. Apart from that, there is nothing else that can make me not suggest this book to you.