No. of Pages: 223
Price: INR 199
‘Litizen Shorts Carnival’ is a collection of 15 multi-genre short stories written by various authors. The idea of Litizen.com itself is an innovative one, where authors publish their short stories for feedback. The best ones are published in a book. ‘Carnival’ is the second such book, and ‘Labyrinth’ was the first.
‘Carnival’ has a number of stories where the main question is, “what would you do when life gives you a choice?” The protagonists in the book are faced with an unusual situation and their response to the situation forms the story. Each story has no final “correct” or “wrong” straightforward answer and the each author gives a unique solution to each situation. Each story is filled with surprise and leaves you wondering.
‘The Music Shop’ by Sharath Komarraju was one of my favourites. In the story, Mr. Aman Fernandes meets himself, but from another universe where time travels in the opposite direction. The future him tells him how he will ultimately meet his demise and tells him that the moment has already passed and it is impossible to alter the same. Yet, the present Fernandes tries to change the ending to his life, only to learn that his future self was wiser. This story, though on a topic much dealt with, is written well and makes you think of the consequences of changing the future, if one could.
‘Opportunity Knocks but Once’ by Sheela Jaywant is a story on the simple moral of choosing between right and wrong. A doctor is being threatened by another doctor, Dr. Shanker Pesta for malpractice. Now what will the doctor do, when Pesta’s life is in his hands in the operation table? It is a simple and elegant story that makes you wonder if you would have any retrain over yourself if such a situation arose.
“Years of discipline and training had taken over my life.”
‘Agni’ by Sreelatha Chakravarty recounts the traumatic time in Sita’s life, when she had to undergo the Agni Pariksha due to Ram’s ego. It spells out the anguish and confusion in Sita’s mind and talks about over her priorities and desires. Written from her perspective, the story examines a man’s ego and his self-image and the inability of man to let go of the same.
‘Envy‘, another great story by Sharath Komarraju is based in the future, where the last man on earth tries to reason with a robot whose only job to document the human life for visitors (aliens) who may visit. The robot, Manav has taken a keen interest in music and started to show a more human side to himself, which goes against the purpose of its creation. It is an interesting story that makes you wonder about the potency of music.
“Not knowing why is the base state of a human..”
There are many more stories in the book that make it a good read. Another upside is the lack of grammatical and editing errors in the book! Overall, the book is a fast read that leaves you often pondering. Perfect for any travel!
Overall Rating: 8/10
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