Sunday, 1 February 2015

Her Story - A Decisive UpperCut to the Society

First off, I'd like to immensely thank Neelam Saxena Chandra ma'am to have agreed to send me the review copy of the book without any second thoughts and Harpreet Makkar sir to have sent me the book without any cross questions. I'm going to be playing it straight and  write from my heart about how I felt while reading every story that is there in this book. I must confess one thing. This is one book which made my time worthwhile in reading it, in college, when in other times, I would have been sleeping soundly.

The Cover:

This is the most apt cover that covers the essence of what is actually there inside the book. Fantastic design by Jimmyeric Films and Media. The back cover doesn't have a blurb, but it has the name of the contributing authors written in various font sizes. This book doesn't need a blurb as the cover in itself is self-explanatory. As one can see from the photograph, a woman is trying to break from the many insecurities that she is facing in the workplace, and in the back cover, there is a strong woman with a determined look on her face. That's about it, even though women are belittled by this society, they overcome all the obstacles and are strong enough.

The Book Quality:

The quality of the book is at its best. I'd like to give a 5/5 to Petals Publishers and Panchajanya Corporate and Creative Solutions, for the paper quality that the book had. They clearly know that appearance as well as the content inside are the two major factors that determine the success of a book.

Neelam Saxena Chandra's Stories:

The book starts with the stories written by one of my favourite poets. Yes, I have not read her stories previously. But after reading these five stories, she instantly became listed in my 'most favourite authors' list. Be it 'A Daunting Journey Indeed' which narrates the struggles faced by a woman with two children, with her husband just deceased, and yet puts up a brave front or 'We Shall Overcome Someday' which is a story of two friends of the opposite sex who grow together and also finds a job in the same company, and how due to gender discrimination, the boy is always preferred to the girl, though the boy himself wouldn't have any kind of discrimination in his heart, and how the girl is faced with the usual struggle a woman faces, and how they overcome it together, where the end is sure to raise the goosebumps of the reader, or The Feeble Voice that shouts out the need for equality between a working man and a working woman, that is sure to touch the hearts and make it tingle with happiness towards the end, or The Solitude of Life's Eve that says about an ailing mother who had lost her husband, and how a helping hand gives hope and becomes the reason for her existence, and of course becomes the reason for her putting up a brave front or The Chain of Love, where a girl from Lucknow comes to the mysterious Mumbai to end up gaining a good name in the office by a very generous act that many fail to do, and win many hearts of the people, including mine, and the title would be justified in the end of the story. Her stories are sure enough to leave a lasting impact on the reader. I can't choose one best story out of the five, as each story is one of a kind.

The Beginning, by Vivek Banerjee:

This is one story that made me get hooked on to the book. This is one story which yet again raised my goosebumps when the story was on the verge of ending. However, some words in the story were typed in Hindi, which could have been avoided, other than that, it is a brilliant story of how a budding gynecologist's confidence is raised when she performs her first operation alone.

One Big Mistake, by Rochak Bhatnagar:

There were no apparent mistakes in the story, though. This is a story of two good friends working in the same place. who turn as rivals, as one friend realizes the one big mistake that she committed. The story is fast paced, but not rushed through. This is certainly one of the better stories in the book. Kudos to the author.

The Eternal Middle, by Bhavya Kaushik and Shruti Fatepuria:

I never knew that two authors could pen a beautiful story about a girl who doesn't have a story. This story is about a dynamic woman at work, who is very strong as far as her job is concerned, but still finds her life incomplete. She sets out on a journey to Ladakh only to find Her Eternal Middle. A light-hearted story, masterfully penned. Credits to the authors.

Is Anybody Listening, by Ruchhita Kazaria:

This story is about a village girl who completely changes her look as she joins an advertising company, mostly because she was belittled by her boss's disgusting comment about how she looks, and after she changes her look, the disgust changes to lust, and even the co-workers would be trying to have a piece of her. But then, a brave post-production manager helps her overcome the insecurities by her advice, and change her mindset towards the corporate world, so that she could take over the reins from her and help her friend overcome the same. A brilliant story, praiseworthy!

Hand that Rocks the Cradle, by Paulami Dattagupta:

This story is easily one of the best stories in the book. The story opens with a maid who goes to work that is far from her place, and to top it all, her boss is a lady who is so domineering, but thanks that her husband and kids are as sweet as ever. The maid's husband wins a jackpot of two lakhs, and they decide to open their dream hotel, also have their own baby and live the life the way they had planned. When everything was going as per plan, but then, the Pandora box opens up as her domineering boss does something wild, and make the maid take a decision to rock the cradle when it is most necessary, is sure to evoke tears from the reader's eyes.

Parallel World, by Megha Sumant Sharma:

I loved reading this story. The protagonist gets pregnant, and breaks the news to her husband who is at first reaction-less, but then, as time passes, he'd be dead against her having the baby, as he'd think that they were financially unstable. She is determined to have the baby at all costs and goes to work as usual. She'd struggle during her first three months, and after she breaks the news in the office after her first trimester period, everyone would turn to be very understanding. She'd gain love in the office, but lose it at home, thus live in two parallel worlds, The couple's love for each other would be rekindled in her third trimester period, by a fantastic act by her friend and it is no less than a treat to the reader.

Predators, by Renuka Vishwanathan:

By reading this story, one can judge that the author is versatile. The story starts with the protagonist filing a complaint that makes the interrogators, her superiors in work, awestruck. The reader would be urged to turn the pages to know what is going to happen next. It progresses the expected way where the protagonist's friend advises to be aware of the predators in the office, but in the end, when the reader gets to know who her real predator was, the twist is sure to throw the reader off the rail.

EndGame, by Rafaa Dalvi:

This is one of my most favourites in the book. This is a story where a girl seeks revenge on a guy who is responsible for the cause of many woman workers in an office to have left their jobs, in the most different manner one would expect. She'd join as a receptionist in the office, and after performing a stunt and after the revelation of who she is, would certainly end the game of the boss, and thus her revenge would be sought. I have become a fan of the author.

Arundati, by Ayan Pal:

I have always been a fan of Ayan Pal's stories. He experiments with different genres and most of his stories have left a lasting impact on me. This is one such story that doesn't fail my expectation. As the title suggests, this is a story about a working woman called Arundati, with a husband who one day aspires to be a film director and a very young son who longs to be with his parents. Due to Arundati's consistency and leadership skills at work, she'd overthrow her rival at work, and win a once in a lifetime opportunity. But then, after she returns home she finds her son who should have otherwise been neatly tucked into bed on any other day, waiting for her. His innocent talk is sure to evoke tears from the reader's eyes. And the best part is Arundati's decision at the end of the story. My respect for Ayan Pal increased manifold after reading this piece.

What!!! by Shubhasis Das:

There really is a What!!! moment that would be awaiting the readers as we read the story. The story is about an IT professional, whose maid's daughter wins a scholarship in a convent school, but to everyone's surprise, the school's management expels her because of a reason that'd make the readers say What!!! And then, there is a predictable ending, nevertheless, Shubhasis keeps the readers hooked to the story until one reads the last word. This is one light-hearted story, that is carried out beautifully.

A Letter to the World, by Khushi Gupta:

The author's age and the level of maturity in this story is quite contradictory, in a positive way, of course. Khushi is I guess the youngest author who has contributed in this book, and has carried a sensitive story quite effortlessly. This story is about a young girl with loads of dreams that are hidden within her eyes. Her mother passes away right after giving birth to her. She has a father, and a brother who loath her, and one brother who shows some amount of love to her. An unimaginable act of her brother and how she at last finds the light in the end of the tunnel, a ray of hope that still life has a meaning, makes this story deserved to be read.

Barren Oasis, by Smriti Mahale:

This is again, one story that holds a place very close to my heart. This is about a very sweet girl, who is well-versed in gynecology, but the harsh truth is that, she can't conceive. Multitudes who'd make a marriage proposal to her, would turn their backs on her, as they get to know about the truth. But how does she find love in her otherwise pitiable life? What is the one silver lining in the cloud that makes her heart tingle with joy? When the reader reads it, it is certain that his/her heart would also begin to tingle with joy.

Trigonometry of Codes, by Snigdha Gharami:

This is a good story, but it could've been written in a better manner. The author seems to be confused with the grammar as well. Somehow, my heart sank as I did not feel emotionally connected with the story.

Her Mistake, by Surbhi Thurkal:

This is one story where one can literally feel the guilt pent up within themselves, for Her Mistake. Here, the protagonist and her husband do not lead a very understanding life. Both are busy in their own ways, and their love for each other slowly begins to dwindle. She commits an unforgivable mistake without the knowledge of her husband, and it starts following her like a cloud. The guilt within her increases manifold when her husband confesses his mistake and his love for her. The choice of words by the author is such that, the reader can feel what the protagonist is going through. She made the reader to envision the feeling that a girl would go through in such a kind of situation. A great job, brilliantly done!

Let Her Die, by Priyanshu Saxena:

This story will not fail to win the hearts of the readers. A lawyer pleads for mercy killing for her client, based on humanitarian criteria, as her client would be in coma for more than three and a half decades, because of a grotesque event that happened in the past. The story moves at a good pace, and it has no plot holes. The author has masterfully revealed how euthanasia plead works in India, and there is a great twist in the end about the relationship between the client and the lawyer, that made a good read a fantastic one.

Beyond the Shallow Realm, by Warishree Pant:

Two thick friends from college are into a big consultancy firm, who work under different teams. One of the friends gains great heights in a very short period of time, and of course gossips start to spread like wildfire, that she gets her job done by pleasing her superiors. Her friend is taken aback by hearing this. During the great economic crisis of 2008, the girl who would be abused verbally in the back by her fellow-colleagues would be the one to solve it, and her final act that proves to be a slap on the cheek to those who spoke ill about her and would make them think that she is something beyond a shallow realm. Warishree has done a brilliant job on this story.

Au Revoir, by Amrit Sinha:

I never knew one could write a true story so brilliantly. The story was fast-paced, and quite excellently written. The end leaves the reader to be awestruck, more because it was a true incident. A final year engineering student joins as an intern under the first ever RJ in Ranchi, and she is able to provide her hopes to her intern. The intern, though she becomes a close friend of the RJ, quits before her time as the placement drive was on. She loses touch with her, and she does quite well in her job and eventually also writes a novel. To promote it, she'd search for her RJ friend, only to be shocked to find the fate of her friend. The concluding paragraph of the story is very thought-provoking. Amrit, I am still yet to get out of the shock.

Griha Lakshmi, by Nehali Lalwani and Siddhartha Yadav:

It is a simple story that revolves around the age old problem that India faces. A doctor marries a Bank officer. Everything is uphill for them, then. The doctor is able to build his own multi-specialty hospital, and his wife helps it to grow and one find day, she conceives. Her mother-in-law, much against her son's wishes, wants to know the gender of the yet-to-be-born. On knowing that it is a girl, she forces her son to get the child aborted. The son's efforts to make his mother to understand goes in vain. Karma follows them, everything goes downhill for them. And in the end, they both decide something, and hope for everything to go uphill from then. This is one of the better stories in the book, that could have been written in a better way.

Her Story (Title Story), by Ruchi Chopra:

Ruchi is called the debutante of the year, and she is quite rightly called so. This is a story that every Indian woman born in orthodox family faces. The story is segmented into prose and poems, where a girl is born, and grows, as every poignant poem is passed. The girl's alliance is fixed by the family, without even consulting her. But she stands up for what is rightfully hers. The prose and poems are sequential, and maintain the rhythm in the story. The ending poem called 'Respect' is sure to make one realize the fact that girls need to be given their chance in this society.

As a whole, I loved reading the book. Though there were some stories which could have been written slightly better, it was a wonderful read. I hope to read an anthology of this standard, and that said, an anthology that is as thought-provoking as this, in future. Her Story indeed proves to be a decisive uppercut to the society.

My Rating for HER STORY:


  1. An excellent review and just the right amount of in-depth suspense raising account of the individual stories. Very well written indeed. I loved the ones by Ruchhita, Neelam and Ayan as well.

    Incidentally if you have not got your copy yet, you can get it online with free home delivery from Amazon using . It's also available at most leading bookstores

  2. A very well written and a detailed review.
    The cover page is appealing indeed. After reading this review I am planning to grab "Her Story" soon :)

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