Author: Meghna Pant
Publisher: Random house India
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‘Happy Birthday’ Is a collection of short stories by the author – Meghna Pant. It is her second book after multiple award winning ‘One and a half wives’. So this book was also expected to be exceptional and the author will not disappoint you.
“A dedicated friend undertakes one last labour of love for a childless woman. Nadia- married into money- finds herself facing uncomfortable truths about her comfortably numb marriage. A Mumbai slum girl dreams of speaking words valuable enough to be translated into English. An American tourist seeking Nirvana sets off a sudden chain of events when his bag is stolen, and destiny plays her hand. A retired civil servant of modest means struggles to support his snooty foreign-returned daughter”
The book draws its title from its main story, “Happy Birthday” in which we encounter a woman who has all the worldly pleasures, but is still unhappy. She goes to a much coveted celebration with her husband, on the day of her Birthday where she encounters some unlikely events and some strange people who turned her life on a different route. Now that sounds interesting!
Similarly, each and every story in the book is thought upon, and presented beautifully. The author portrays a good understanding of the human behaviour. She throws light upon both the good and the bad side of human nature. Meghna Pant, has lived in many cities outside India, and its influence can be felt in all the stories, making the book a fabulous read. All the stories are exceptional in their own way, but the last one ‘Shaitans’ took the cake for me. The ending couldn’t get any better – how one event can give rise to a series of events, and affect many lives.
And yes, if you think they are the happy-ending-type-stories, then I must warn you they are not. Every story will leave you either with a message or a question. The characters will feel so real, that somewhere or the other, you start finding them in you. This is exactly what that keeps a reader engrossed.
Lastly, the cover of the book gets thumbs up too. One glance at it and you’d definitely want to read the book. So what are you waiting for?