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.
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.
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.
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 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.
Title: The Inevitable
Author: Ashay Abbhi
Year of Publication: 2015
Price: 200 INR
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