Author: Rituraj Verma
Publisher: Jufic Books
Price: Rs 145
Every person has some aim in life -be it a big house, a car, marriage, education, whatever – but, what is this all in aid of? What is common to all these aims?
The common factor is the end result of all these aims – a sense of satisfaction and contention – resulting in happiness for the individual. And this is exactly the emotion captured by first-time author Rituraj Verma in his book ‘Love, Peace and Happiness’.
The book comprises of a collection of stories about individuals living their lives, meeting the challenges thrown at them on their journey and discovering something new in the process. The book eerily gives you a sense of déjà vu, of either having had to face a similar situation or hearing of the same from someone else.
Also, something different about the book – there are the alternate endings (to the stories) provided at the author’s website. Especially when you are left feeling like “Nah! I didn’t like the way that ended.”, here is a chance for you to make your own ending.
The stories are thought-provoking and leaves the reader squirming in his or her mind – asking – “What would I have done if I were in the place of the protagonist?”. Because, unlike the usual run-of-the-mill fiction, these are about things that could really happen in life, and situations that many of us have faced.
The first story in the collection – ‘A High Like Heaven‘ – is about a couple taking a leisure trip to the hills – but which quickly becomes shrouded in mystery and myths. The husband becomes obsessed with finding a mythical flower, while the wife tries to pull him back from the quest. Finally, what happens when they find the flower is the climax. The story is a parallel to our modern-day – couples who run after money and promotions with no time for the little pleasures offered by life. Sometimes these people find true happiness, but ofttimes, they don’t.
And another interesting aspect of the book is that the characters’ lives are intertwined in the different stories. For instance, the couple in the first story again appear in another one ‘The Practitioner of Austerity’ – which is another reminder to us mortals – that our lives are all intertwined, and none of us can achieve anything by ourselves. We are in the same river, in different boats, all ultimately moving in the same direction as the river. When some boats hit a snag, some may offer to help, while others go forward without a glance. And sometimes there are obstructions in the river which may affect some of the boats, and which are meant to bring out the best and worst in us. A few boats find a way around the obstruction, some may be stuck.
You cannot read the book in one sitting and finish it off. It requires some effort to go through it, and certainly does not make for light reading material. I am generally a person who finishes books quickly, and don’t like stories requiring heavy introspection. However, the nature of these stories do not become immediately apparent to the reader. And it took me more than 2 weeks to get through the book because as I finished one story after another, I started feeling a real heaviness in my mind, something I don’t fancy.
So, for those of you out there looking for books to entertain you – please stay away from this one. It will do absolutely nothing for your fun-loving nature, and probably will make you miserable.
And those of you into trying to find the meaning of life, this book will be the perfect cup of tea for you.