Monday, July 6, 2015

The Inevitable talks about the inevitable.

The Inevitable. It's hard to believe that it is the author's debut. Ashay has a flair for short stories and poems. It comes out easily and effortlessly. The last author that I read who was efficient at writing both prose and poetry with such ease was J. R. R. Tolkien. I am not comparing here, but the author of this book is clearly at par.

The author's cleverness can be seen by his choice of the title. I was awed when I turned the last page of the book, not by the story/poem, but that was when I realized how intricate and choicest of titles this was. I turned back the pages and read the titles of the stories and poems to recollect what I had read and quickly sized up the whole book. The book talks about life, death, day, night, love, hatred, happiness, sorrow, accidents, eventuality,  laughter, cries, starvation, hunger, anger, violence, peace, et al. And what a surprise when I realized. Everything that the author had dealt with in the book is 'inevitable'. 

 The author, I believe has a special love for the beverages, coffee and tea.

About the author:

The connoisseur of all things suave, Ashay Abbhi enjoys poetry, reading, sufism, music, and is a die-hard fan of The Godfather. He currently works as a Research Analyst. Ashay wields the pen every now and then when his muse visits him, dabbing with a bit of poetry and prose. He is a volunteer with the Red Elephant Foundation, and writes op-ed styled articles for many international outlets on contemporary energy issues and surrounding geopolitical angles. Given a chance, Ashay would like to spend the rest of his life in a house with a tin roof and an unending supply of tea, amongst the hills where it rains all year around, except in winter when it snows.

And now for a little sneak-peek.

This book, it is more like a sandwich. Two poems are the bread and a story in the stuffing, or you can relish it by having two stories as the bread and a poem for stuffing. And yes, it is delicious. Every poem alternates a story.

The book opens with a poem. It is untitled, but the untitled poem voices the power of imagination, a power that knows no bounds. A powerful way to begin the book.

The Ninth Cross:

As we flick the page, there's another poem titled the ninth cross. The end of the poem sent shivers down my spine. The ninth cross. What is it? A plus? Or an X? Cross can also be used to represent a street. But what is that ninth cross Ashay wants you to know about? That's a surprise that he has cleverly placed it in the last line. 

The Yellow Wall:

Here, we travel to a mystical city that is covered in milk-white. Every house, every temple, to cut it short, everything in that village is dipped in white. Everything, but one yellow wall. A traveler visits this wonder village more out of curiosity and there he hears a tale about the yellow wall. The narration is fast-paced and creates a sense of eeriness as each word is read, and makes the reader cling on to the story until the very last word that conveys a beautiful message.

The Search for Love:

An absolutely interesting and a different take, I would say. The search for love is a poem in which the author has brought in all the entities of something that people are obsessed with and unified them. This poem, I would say is one of the best in the book.

Love for Tea:

This is a moving story of a couple who settled in a tea plantation and has an obsession towards tea. The narration is intriguing and the story moves at a very steady pace. The author has ended the story on a quirky note. There were great descriptions about the scenery and the plantation. The setting was fresh and enchanting.

Five Cups of Tea:

With this poem, Ashay continued to mesmerize me with his awe-inspiring poetry writing skills, describing a day from morning to night, and at the same time dealing with life and death is certainly not an easy feat and he has done that quite effortlessly. Kudos to that. 

Coffee at Midnight:

The protagonist stays at a hotel, and he has a weird habit of having coffee at midnight. Everyday, exactly when the clock strikes 12, he has his coffee. He buys it from a coffee-wallah, but then, one day, the turn of unexpected events is inevitable. The pace in the narration does not slow down. And again, the quirky side of the author perks up towards the end of the story.

I'll Take You Away:

This poem is sure to give the reader hope, even if he has had his deepest fall. It talks of nothing but positivity. There is an inevitable flow of words from the book to the reader's heart that is sure to ease any pain and rejuvenate the hopeless. Two words to tell about this poem, Hope Prevails.

The Night it Rained:

The author takes us away to witness the plight faced by the people living on platforms without proper shelter and clothing and how the condition worsens when the adversities of weather takes toll. And still, at the end of the day, hope lingers.

A Day:

This is an intense poem of how one manages to fight through a day. This is perfectly cut into different parts of the day with various different feelings. The author's caliber at poetry can be seen in this poem.

Just Another Day:

Ashay has managed to create a perfect village, a village devoid of violence. A day starts like just another day with peaceful people moving about. Something happens and the whole village goes berserk, and what starts like just another day does not end as just another day. The narration is gripping enough to devour all the contents of the story in one go in the end only to gasp at the twist.

The Moonlit Shore:

This is another poem that leaves the reader with a heavy heart. Ashay definitely has a way when dealing with emotions and especially puts his skill to great use when he writes poems. This poem talks about life and death.

Living to Die:

This is yes, one of the best stories in the book. It starts with the protagonist searching for food to satiate his hunger, and his hunt takes forever. Along the way, he meets a woman. In the end, he learns how opposite both of their lives are. 

Departed from Life:

The name of the poem is quite evident for the readers to guess what this deals with. Recounting the past, living in the present, having lost the future, the soul is in a dilemma to which it would never find an answer. A brilliant take by Ashay.


This story is the longest in the book and as per my opinion, the best. The story revolves around a Gorkha. There are vivid descriptions about the brutalities, the war and the violence that follows. No wonder that the author is an ardent fan of Mario Puzo. The gorkha loses something that is most precious to him, does something that finally sets him in peace. The story is rocket-paced and the end made me have goosebumps. 

A Sight Travels:

A sight travels observing the world. It starts its journey as a 'life unravels' and travels until 'death unravels' itself. The poem is touching and covers a different aspect of life and death. Perhaps that is the beauty of the book. Nothing is redundant.


This tale is wedged between light and dark. The protagonist is fearful towards the dark and longs for the light. But it is inevitable that he has to face the worst of  fears. This story has a narrative that would open up the core of the heart of the reader. Though circumstances plunge him into darkness, life has to go on.

Endless Wait...:

This poem has a deep meaning having 'wait' as the keyword. The author has put forth insightful thoughts on what we are waiting for. In the end he has asked a question, a query that is worth asking and worth to be answered.

The New Year's Eve:

This is quite an interesting story. What happens when a person has not celebrated new year's eve for so long a time and suddenly the turn of events end up in him celebrating it after all? Or did he, really? The twist comes along as a surprise.

Living Dead:

This poem takes the reader a walk down the memory lane to the cherished past, and makes us stumble on the present, and gives insights about the future which is true and meaningful. The words are carefully chosen to leave an impact on the reader's heart.

Bashir Bhai Gadi Dega Kya?

Bhashir bhai, will you give me your watch? This is one of the most interesting stories in the book with fast-paced narration. The protagonist will be pursued by someone who asks the aforesaid question, 'Bashir bhai, will you give me your watch?' But he is not Bashir Bhai nor does he know who Bashir bhai is. While being pursued, he doesn't understand head or tail of what was happening, and suddenly he gets to know who Bashir bhai is. This story conveys a very deep meaning.


This poem bombards us with a good number of 'why' questions that is sure enough to make most of us think. While we wonder why indeed, the author himself has answered it. The best answers I would say. And if one is able to follow it, peace will sustain in the world, else, 'it would definitely cease'

The Escape:

The quirkiest side of Ashay piqued while writing this story, I guess. This is a story of a person who finds himself arrested for a grave crime. And then, he recounts the earlier events when he visits Lusaka and embarks on a journey to Somalia where finds himself in the clutches of a gang lord. While the story goes action packed, it takes the most unexpected turn and reveals the quirkiest side of Ashay, as I had said earlier. '

Part of the Game:

'It's all part of the game...' as is said in one of the lines of this hope-raising poem. It talks about the ups and downs that we face in life and how one must take it. The reader is sure to get energized after reading this piece of splendid art.

The Ashes of Bad Writers:

As one can see, the name in itself increases the curiosity of the reader especially when the book is on the verge of ending. This is a story of a teenager who likes nothing other than books. He craves for good books and would savour its warmth for weeks, and then another, the pile keeps adding and he is content. But he couldn't stand bad writing. After he reads a very disgusting story, he decides to take on the 'bad writers'. And down the line, he decides to try his hand at writing. 


Peace did not come into play until before the last page of the book, and that is when I realized the author's positivity towards life. As I read the tales and poetry in the pages before, it was dealt with all the aforementioned inevitable factors of life, all but peace. I had a feeling that something was missing and this last poem perfectly fitted the jig-saw and my respect for the author increased manifold as he seems to think that by the end of the road, or if God-willing before that, peace is also inevitable.

Verdict: Ashay Abbhi clinches gold.


Book Details:

Title: The Inevitable
Author: Ashay Abbhi
Genre: Fiction
Type: Paperback
Publisher: Maitreya
Language: English
Pages: 88
Year of Publication: 2015
Price: 200 INR
Buy Paperback: Amazon |

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Sunday, June 28, 2015

Book Review: Pluck Out The Heart

This book is will leave an everlasting pleasure on reader's mind.

Flipkart| Kindle| Amazon

The Blurb:

Pluck out the Heart is something beyond an anthology; it is a unique venture by five authors. Based on the horror/dark genre, this book stands out to be a variation in the approach to scary tales. Just as it will manage to run a long nail down your freezing spine, Pluck out the Heart is manicured with an intention to tell newly thought stories to the readers, page by page. The macabre wave of the reverent has been woven through the emotions in each story, as the characters in them are created to touch your heart and their darker part is sure to pluck it out! Another differentiating feature of this book is that the authors haven’t gone for the usually read and cliched commercial plot lines. Each tale that is told in the further pages is a well-chiseled work of art by the respective writer. We chose this topic after analyzing that the excitement about horror tales among the readers/audience is declining, owing to the fact that the creators are consistently failing to give the readers something fresh.


Even before she could get her hands on a candle she could see the room light up dimly.
'Where is the light coming from? I did not light anything!'
Shivangi turned around only to see the upturned mirror that Vipin had gifted her with the reflection of a burning candle in it.
'How is it possible?' she wondered.
She came closer to the mirror and to her horror of horrors, instead of looking at her own image in the mirror, she saw the image of her dead sister holding a candle and smiling back at her! And, in background she saw an even more familiar face smiling that charming dimpled smile. It was Vipin!!

About the Authors: 

Sagher Manchanda, is a poet and storyteller. He has been published in several anthologies, e-books and e-mags. In 2014, Sagher won the Saarang Literary Award from IIT Madras.

Nalini Srivastava, a teacher by profession and is a poet by heart, with several poems published in national and international anthologies, short stories being the new genre she is dabbling with.

Nikhil Katkar is an Entrepreneur, Graphic Designer and co-founder of social website ( Pluck out the heart is his first contribution in writing.

Shail Raghuvanshi is a freelance journalist, editor, content writer, book reviewer and poet. She has 20 years of writing experience in newspaper, magazine, radio, television and the internet. Her poems, short stories and articles have been published in leading magazines and journals.

Neelam Saxena Chandra, an author of twenty one books, is a record holder in the Limca Book of Records for being the author with highest number of publications in a year. She has won award in a poetry contest by American Embassy, Premchand award by Ministry of Railways, Rabindranath Tagore International poetry award, Freedom award by Radio city for her lyrics.

My Review:

This book will take you from dark fantasy to real life stories around you... 

The reader's heart...

Pluck out the Heart, an anthology comprises seventeen freaking horror stories that are sure to add fiery to your wits. Stories written by Sagher Manchanda stands different  because of its classic touch and thrilling suspense. The first five chapters are sure to blow out your mind. His stories are mostly based on ''As you sow, so shall you reap''. However, I enjoyed reading 'The Last Act'. One of the best stories in the book.
Nalini Srivastava's stories have beautifully weaved emotions. The story 'Think Before You Wish' depicts life of Rhea, who once had been a beautiful, bubbly and confident girl, now struggling hard in marriage with all her charms lost. Gautam, her husband plays a trick on her but with the help of her best friend, Avani; Rhea's spirit find justice. Nikhil Katkar, who made his debut in writing career with two of his splendid stories in this book. His stories, 'The Granny' and 'Visible To The Eye and Yet Invisible' are the work of sheer excellence. His writing style is simple with a well planned plot, and that's make his attempt a remarkable one. It would have been wonderful to read more stories from Nikhil Katkar rather than just two. Shail Raghuvanshi's 'The Gift'and 'The Last Concert' won my heart and stands distinct in the book. 'The Gift' revolves around Shivangi and an special event, her sixteenth birthday. She falls in love with Vipin, her maid's son. By the time, Vipin holds a special place in her heart and is reciprocated by the present that Vipin gifts Shivangi on her birthday...isssh, that's a secret. Read it to know. 'The Last Concert' is all about a husband's insecurity about his wife, as she is flat on a popular singer, Shafiq Ali. The mysterious events in the story will leave you astound. Neelam Saxena Chandra, one of my favorite authors never fail me. All of her stories were a sip of delight. With horror as its main ingredient she has conveyed valuable message for the society. 'The Hand of Fate' is about two immature college boys, Kaushal and Ramesh. Kaushal's young heart falls for Shweta. But Shweta being a goal- oriented girl doesn't accept his proposal. Out of an ego, Kaushal and his friend Ramesh plan to teach her a lesson by an acid attack. Shweta indeed teach them a better lesson and that gave me goosebumps. 'The Scent of the Mogra' and 'The Visitor' were like an icing on the cake.  

What I liked?

The book has been edited well with an intriguing narration. My personal favorite picks are- The last Act, The Varnish, The Granny, The Gift and The Visitor. It was the first time I picked up a horror genre to read and I think I should read some more.

What I disliked?

The only thing I disliked was the odd number of stories by authors. It should have been equal. Also, the cover page of the book could have been better and more tempting to eyes.

Why should one read this book?
If you are fed up of reading same genre again and again, Pluck out the Heart will prove to be a refreshing read. It has a mixture of different emotions and feelings- love, revenge, sin, endurance, morals, justice and the best part is...all of its stories have real life background. So, where at one end the stories fright you; on the other hand it has a lesson too. 

To this horror reading ride which also offers importance of morals and good values in life, I give this book a four-star rating.

Book Details:
Blurb: 3/5
Description: 4/5
Writing Style: 5/5
Excerpt: 5/5
Book Cover: 4/5
Overall Rating: 4/5

Title: Pluck Out The Heart
Authors: Sagher Manchanda, Nalini Srivastava,
Shail Raghuvanshi, Nikhil Katkar, Neelam Saxena C.
Genre: Horror
Type: Paperback
Publisher: Airavat Publishing
Language: English
Pages: 192
Year of Publication: 2015
Price: 199 INR
Buy Paperback: Flipkart | Amazon

Follow on: FacebookGoodreads Page

Pluck Out The Heart will stand up to your expectations with unexpected twists and un-put-down-able narration. A ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ Book that will refresh mood and leave an everlasting pleasure on reader's mind. This dark fantasy book is a perfect read for change and it won't fail you. Highly recommended for all, No second thoughts!

This book was given to me by the author in exchange of an honest feedback. The opinions expressed  in the review are my own, and remain unbiased and uninfluenced. I have given a four-star rating on Goodreads and FlipKart as I felt nothing less than that would be fair.