Thursday, May 28, 2015

Book Review :: 'Marijuana Diaries' By Paulami Dasgupta

Book Review
Blurb: 
Marijuana Diaries, an anthology on addiction and obsession, has 17 stories by new and established writers. As writers introspect and celebrate addictions of various forms, the pages of this diary fill up.

My Review:
Simply enjoyed and loved Marijuana Diaries anthology for two reasons; one, all the stories are so near and true to the theme of addiction and obsession, kudos to Paulami Dutta Gupta for a great compilation and; second reason is that all of them are distinctive, well narrated with great plot, style and voice. Cherry on the cake is the story by Gulzar!

Going straight to individual stories, starting from the one with the same title as the anthology.

Marijuana diary is a thought provoking story of a person who is broke both financially and in spirit. Addicted on Marijuana, the protagonist goes on an aimless journey and finds something which makes him realize that giving up is not an option and he gets the motivation to barge ahead in life. Superb narration by Paulami DuttaGupta, almost poetic, describing the setting and depressed protagonist.

Wake Me Up By Rubina Ramesh: This one was really spooky and totally consuming… I couldn’t wait to read what happens next? Very rarely one comes across a short story with a full plotline which includes suspense, mystery, romance and a very unnerving end. Flawless narration by Rubina took me to a shadowy journey from Mumbai to Kerala, where dreams merged into reality and ending with a big bang. To know more read the book.


Anorebolemipedia by Brindaa Lakshmi: A little funny and a little poignant story of two young people. One is compulsive eater and the other is the opposite. The story is very close to our everyday reality. It depicts our fears and phobias and the fact we tend to think the worse about ourselves all the time, whereas the truth might be completely opposite.

I would never go to a fine dine restaurant and not wonder whether the waiter spat on my order. :-) I think I would attribute this little plot element to default creative license which all the writers have.

Into the Abyss and Back By Janaki Nagaraj: Explosive and sensuous beginning! Janaki got the pace and the sexual energy bang on in the first scene, which set the precise tone of the protagonist’s obsession. The story is about a happily married woman who gets involved with a married man. While the woman is emotionally invested, but the man just looks at it as one-off fling. A story, well-conceived and told.

All for a game by Aparajita Dutta is a story of a women’s passion for a game which is considered to be a man’s forte—football. Her passion is not understood by most of the people and she drifts apart from her loved ones. But the twist in the story teaches her to find a balance between her passion and practicality. I loved the way the technicalities of the football game has been integrated with the story.

Tiramisu - A Wet Dream By Deepali Junjappa:  Hallucinations, dreams, reality merging together, the story is expertly woven to show the life and struggle of aspiring actors in Bollywood. Anything for that one role which would take them to elusive heights of stardom. Great play of words!

The Final Journey By Ahana Mukherjee is about a girl who has ruined her love life due to her excessive jealous nature and laments about sins coming back and haunting her family. The story dwells into past then moves to present comparing the two phases of her life. Loved the line, ‘…memories are like disobedient children…’

A Date Night at Home By Nethra A: I called it a ‘To and Fro’ story in my mind since it was going back and forth in a month’s time period and I also wondered about the non-existent date 31st September? The tale is about Chocolate addiction and what one does if the craving is not fulfilled. A sweet chocolaty story.

One more chance By Rochelle Potkar:  Addiction with no-hold love—simple unadulterated attachment without any responsibilities and shenanigans that comes with it. This one was for people who do not want to get tied down but want the thrill of first love and kick of having a carefree life. But every action has a equal and opposite reaction.

Search - A Short Journey by Raghuvir Shekhawat (famour writer of Ek Chalis ki last local): A total wham… a person who is addicted on something unthinkable (If I tell more, it would turn into a spoiler).

Token Number 205 By Reshma Ranjan expertly deals with an affliction or habit; pessimism or negativity. In our daily lives we see and meet so any people who just complain and whine. Loved the setting of the story, everyone would be able to relate with it.

I, ME, MYSELF By DR. Tahmina Khaleel: An ambitious and successful women’s obsession with self is revealed as the story progresses. Tahmina Khaleel has done a wonderful job with the plot.

Life in My Shoes! By Nehali Lalwani starts with the protagonists who loses her mother when she is in school, she blames herself and takes the support of alcohol. Even after she finds true love, she is unable to get rid of her thoughts and addiction. Circumstance and a chance encounter makes her realize the value of living and enjoying the present moment.

An everlasting bond By Trippayar Sahasranaman Priyaa: Deals with Facebook addiction and perils of social media. Once an addict always an addict. Kids today do not understand the risk involved in baring their lives on social forums. I loved the end when the protagonist’s mother takes charge of the situation.

Idiot’s box by Nivedita: Sweet story about a homemaker’s addiction to TV soaps, and how her habits haunt her husband. The circumstances beyond their control made her realize the things she was missing and neglecting because of her obsession.

Freedom has a Price Tag by Meera Bhardwaj:  A targic but well narrated story in chronic substance abuse. Everything comes with a price.

The Rain By Gulzar, Translated by Sunjoy Sekhar: Shows the plight of poor in the face of nature’s calamity. The tale eloquently depicts the picture of alcoholic Damoo and his family and his competition with nature. Whether he wins or not is for the readers to tell. 

Special mention to superb translation by Sunjoy Sarkar, the words painted a vivid picture of devastation due to calamity of heavy rains in Mumbai.

I enjoyed every story, each one was like a different shade of a rainbow. A highly recommended read!