Book: My Rainbow- Seven riveting short stories
Publisher: Quill Club Writers
Authors: Khush Agrawal, Isha Setia, Dhritika Dhawan, Harshavardhini Pareek, Aditya Agarwal, Isha Rautela, Shivangi Singh
Price: Rs 180
Rating: 4 out of 5
Review: ‘My Rainbow’ is not just an ordinary book with an anthology of short stories! No, it is not because none of its authors is over 16. Written by school students in their early teens (with one barely 11-years of age), this book is aptly titled. Each of the 7 young authors epitomizes a hue of the rainbow and conjures up a colorful tale which is as good as good can get!
These seven riveting stories (each author contributing one) are exceptionally well-written and, at no time, give an impression that they have been inked by those who still haven’t started working on Trigonometry. Remarkable narrative skills, mature writing and a vocabulary which can give even fully grown-up authors a bit of a shame, these stories are marvelous gems produced by seven priceless talents.
Here is a quick breakup of each story:
1. The Legend of Zalim Khan (by Khush Agrawal)
Story Synopsis: It is a story of three good-for-nothing brothers who discover the real identity of their late father and set on a treasure hunting trail. In the process, they discover more about their father and a bit about life.
My review: An excellent story by the prodigious 13-year old Khush; laced with ingenious maturity and stuffed with a riveting gift of vocabulary.
Rating: 5 on 5
2. Water Under the Bridge (by Dhritika Dhawan)
Story synopsis: It is a story of a young girl who grows up in a small hill town under the upbringing of a single mother. One day she comes across a face in a newspaper and develops a strong feeling that it belongs to her father. She decides to take the bait which fate has offered her.
My Review: Brilliant! Though the plot is trite, it is the simplicity and innocence in writing which overwhelm you. Penning the tale of an emotionally vulnerable teenage girl in first person, 13-year old Dhritika Dhawan conjures mixed emotions in the mind of the readers. The detailing is vehement and there is a Ruskin Bond flavor to the story. Despite the predictable climax, the narration and the happy-sad ending do make you smile, cry and smile again.
Rating: 4.5 on 5
3. Carnival in Lousytown (by Harshavardhini Pareek)
Story synopsis: It is a simple fabled story of a lazy, lousy town where the inhabitants are lethargic and unenthusiastic about life. But one rumor spreads like wild fire and helps them rediscover life.
My Review: A simple story told from the heart. It is amazing how an 11-year old could pen a children’s story with such a gripping command over language and with a surprising adeptness for an engaging narration. Harshavardhini Pareek opens the floodgates of childhood, taking the readers into the nostalgic world of folklores.
Rating: 4 on 5
4. Fate (by Isha Setia)
Story Synopsis: It is the tale of an inquisitive young girl who finds herself in the midst of circus people, after 14 years of living a boring and highly compromised life.
My Review: Isha Setia amazes with her deft command over writing. Narrating the tale from the perspective of a teenage girl, she hooks the reader, taking him to a makeshift world of circus & clowns, and leaving chuckles and smiles on the face. The plot is simple but the unique setting is a winner.
Rating: 4.5 on 5
5. The Interview (by Shivangi Singh)
Story Synopsis: it is an intriguing story, more like a mind game. A child bumps into a criminal. Years later, when the child grows up and enters college, she bumps into the criminal again. He is her lecturer of Journalism. What transpires next is an ‘interview’!
My Review: Just wow! The young Shivangi Singh is perhaps herself not aware of the ease with which she can knit words. Her writing is limpid and clear, yet full of subtle details which glaringly point at her power of observation. The story has a professional maturity and the plot has a clear purpose behind it.
Rating: 5 on 5
6. The Decision (by Isha Rautela)
Story Synopsis: A young inquisitive school boy named Yash walks into a place where one can see the future of the entire planet. But there is a catch! In order to see the future, he will have to let go of his past. He needs to make a ‘decision’!
My Review: It is hard for a fully grown-up adult to imagine how a 13-year old could imagine to such an extent. But Isha Rautela does exactly that. Treading deep into the crevices of her adolescent mind, she plucks out a story which is children’s fantasy at its best. She also injects a few words which hint at mankind’s atrocious attitude towards nature. Her writing is simple and easy to comprehend, yet there are places where her precocious vocabulary prowess gets instantly highlighted.
Rating: 4.5 on 5
7. Adventure of the Mysterious Flagstone (by Aditya Agarwal)
Story Synopsis: Amit, Rahul and Sahil are cousin kids. During a holiday, they sniff some sinister activities going on in an island. Adventure follows with lots of action, adrenaline and thrills.
My Review: ‘Adventure of the Mysterious Flagstone’ by young Aditya Agarwal is clearly inspired from ‘The Famous Five’. Aditya knits an adventure story with Indian characters in an Indian setting (albeit, not dissimilar to Blyton’s). The story is not extraordinary but quite good to keep young readers hooked. Though the pacing is slightly uneven, it is, by no means, a patchy attempt. Not as good as ‘The Famous Five’! But then Aditya dares to do in his teens what Blyton did in her 40s or 50s. So, kudos!
Rating: 3.5 on 5
[The book was received as part of Reviewers Programme on http://thetalespensieve.com/reviewers-sign-up The Tales Pensieve]