Title: Secrets, Sins & Struggles
Author: Kamini Kusum
Publisher: Zorba Books
Price: Rs. 199
My Rating: 3/5
"This collection of tales about the lives and loves of five women traces their long, eventful journeys.
Meet Pooja, a teenager forced into the flesh trade but determined to escape and get justice.
Shrawani who dreams of becoming a bureaucrat despite all the trials life throws her way.
Avni who is torn between her childhood friend and her brand-new boyfriend.
Harsha who is trapped in a loveless arranged marriage while still being haunted by thoughts of her forsaken lover.
Geshna who falls head over heels for a high school sweetheart only to find her own life shrinking to accommodate his.
These stories are about the odds stacked against these women in their paths to love and success, and their hope that the next turn that they make will be the one that leads them to the happiness they are longing for. "
Now this is the first collection of novellas that I have read and it took me just a couple of hours to finish them. The benefit of reading a collection - you don't get bored and before you know it, next story begins.
More or less equally divided, this books contains 5 stories and each revolves around a certain issue faced by women. However honestly, although issues faced are different but it primarily centers around one theme - "How women are stupid enough to trust so easily and how (most) men take advantage of it". I am thankful to God as I cannot relate to any single story mentioned in the book but reading through I felt really bad for all the girls out there who actually have faced or are facing such problems.
Talking about and rating each story:
- Brothel to Assembly: Story of Pooja. It is a heart-touching story of flesh trade. If I were the author I wouldn't have kept this first but I know why she did it. It is the best one out of five. It is really sad and pitiful. As I read it, I felt the pain that Pooja felt and how miserable she was. I really liked the ending but I would have liked it better if vengeance was served... it was missing. My rating to this story - 4/5
- Love, Corporate and Custody: Story of Geshna. It is a story of love and loss. It clearly states that when a girl devotes herself truly to a guy, she will do anything for him. Same happens with Geshna. It is well written story which narrates her devotion, admiration and true love for her boyfriend. And how he reciprocates in not so expected manner. My rating to this story - 3.5/5
- Madam Bureaucrat: Story of Shrawani. Oh I disliked this story... I wish author could have added a better one because this, well this was weird and I really wonder if girls are so-so-so stupid ever (I guess some are. Sigh!). It is one where an ambitious girl is manipulated and is stupid enough to not see the pattern (despite her intelligent friend repeatedly reminding her). My rating to this story - 1.5/5
- Sin: Story of Harsha. This story proves that all girls are not angels and all men are not mean. Opposite is also true. In here Harsha finds the best husband any girl can ask for (she actually gets even better) yet she engages herself in extra-marital affair. Well, we all know what is the tragic climax of such affairs! While reading you just wonder how can a woman be so mean and dumb? And all girls would wish to have a husband like hers. What he did in this story is just commendable and more or less impossible... read the story to know more. My rating to this story - 3/5
- That Rave Party Night: Story of Avni. Another average story in the book but still better than the third. Avni, a naive girl from a small town falls for a hunk and potentially becomes a prey to sexual predators in a Rave party. What I liked about this story is how she takes revenge. My rating to this story is 2.5/5
Characters in each story are well written and connected. There are no grammatical errors in the book, which for a change was pleasant. And except for 4th, each story followed a smooth pattern, in 4th it actually ended slight abruptly.
My rating to the book overall is 3/5...
You can grab the copy here.
Love & Cheers