Santosh Avvannavar

Second Heart by Dr. Sandeep G Huilgol and Santosh Avvannavar

Review by Shwetha H S

Second Heart is not about organ donation or claiming myths about second-hand heart. It talks about the pair of kidneys in every human being that too help in regulating blood and its flow. Therefore, kidneys are termed as our second heart. This book is a compilation of five short stories that tell you why it is important to take care of your kidney’s health too.

Unforgotten Love, Love That Returned and Faith is a story of a doctor, who ignored his own health and lost his kidney functionalities. Hope tells us about various ways in which kidney can fail. Love, War and Faith reminds you not to ignore any illness symptoms. God, Freewill and Lucifer: Battle Ground shows what happens if you take your body for granted and abuse it. Shalom is about a girl who is thrown into human trafficking. All the stories have a situation that lead to kidney failure except Shalom. This last story is an odd-man-out in this compilation and you will feel like it has been forcibly stuffed here in this book. There is moral in every story. A good one time read.

SHE Ekla Cholo Re by Santosh Avvannavar & Dr. Shayan Haq

She: Ekla Cholo Re by Dr Shayan Haq and Santosh Avvannavar

Review by Shwetha H S

She is a short story about homosexual who was born boy and later embraced her feminine qualities. In a matter of 40+ pages, the authors manage to tell you about the problems that homosexuals face in our country. Starting with their own family to the outer world, they are troubled by their own people. They have problems getting into schools and colleges, finding jobs and even finding good friends. Our society is still not that broadminded to accept homosexuals too as human beings.

She has a good background. No beating around the bush. The story is told through Kusum Chatterjee with Rajendra as her audience. It is just like one of those yesteryear programs that dominated our TVs before the dawn of mega serials. Only one story at a time; no parallel stories. You can sit back and finish reading this book at one go.

God’s Table: The Last Supper by Santosh Avvannavar, Jyothi Byahatti and Dr.Sandeep Huilgol

Review by Shwetha H S

God’s Table is neither a short story collection nor a novel. It is a collection of discussions about social issues. It revolves around a couple, one doctor and other a teacher. During every meal together, they discuss a social issue they faced that day and in the end ask a God-man for clarity.

The couple discuss about evils of education, ethical and moral limits, euthanasia, elections, problems caused by wealth, honour killing, sexual abuse, death, effect of social media, ill treatment of girls, killings in the name of religion and medical profession. Concept is good, but the God-man Paul popping out from nowhere seems odd. This book is basically food for thought.

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.

Black, Grey and White by Santosh Avvannavar and Santosh I Biradar

Review by Shwetha H S

There is no beating around the bush with this book of five short stories. The authors claim that these short stories deal with the misconceptions around HIV. But the fifth short story doesn’t have anything to do with HIV and AIDS, even remotely. I guess, the authors didn’t know where to put this short story and just stuffed it in the end. I am not saying it is bad; it is good, but is definitely misplaced.

The first short story, Shahid – the Martyr, throws light upon the killings that occur around the world thinking that would help ailing people get cured. This particularly deals with virgin sacrifices in the name of black magic to get rid of HIV.

The second short story, Chintu: The Earth is Round, tells you how helpless children, who are infected with HIV, are treated by this society as untouchables and this in turn leads to deprivation of basic necessities.

The third short story, A Game of Life, Lust and Death, is about how a woman uses HIV to take revenge on her enemies. I don’t know how this helps in supporting the infected and affected community.

The fourth short story, Highway Sex: A Journey of Hope, explains how having unprotected sex can lead to HIV infection. Through this story, the authors explain how it is not only the infected person who suffers, but also his/her family.

The fifth short story, Abram and His Prodigal Son, is the misplaced story in this book. Anyway, this story tells you how a person in good influence too can turn bad with just a pinch of evil. It is a modern take on the Parable of Lost Son. So, this story won’t disappoint you either.

This book is a good attempt at bringing awareness in our society, which still behaves primitively when it comes to being around HIV infected people, by trying to burst the myth around it. You read it or gift it to someone. Help in raising awareness about HIV.

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.

Surrogate Author by Santosh Avvannavar and Shilpa Patil

Review by Shwetha H S

Though the title might make you think this book is of a serious theme, it will readily make you laugh. It is a spoof of Devdas with an intention of inspiring authors, new as well as old, to keep on writing. In this story, you will find all the characters from the movie Devdas and a surprise character from the movie Sholay. Here, author is a Devdas and is called Authdas, and Paro is his first book. Rest of the story just unfolds. The core of this book remains concentrated on a single purpose – to encourage authors.

While the concept is good, it is not enough to keep the book away from criticism. In the book, the author (actual one) writes in the Introduction that critics have issues with spelling, story, grammar, etc. I am not critic, but my only issue with this book is it needs editing and proof reading very badly. As of now, this book looks like it has been brought out in a hurry. Once these issues are attended to, this book will emerge as a really humorous read.