#BookReview: Afsaane by Ameya Bondre

Afsaane - Book Review

About the Book:

A sky-blue paper bird glued to a mirror. A handmade book on music to be gifted. A pair of mud-brown tea cups without handles. A shelf to hoard dying memories. A little home tucked away in a remote village. A haunting voice after boarding an empty bus... The images on the cover belong to people whose stories are packed in this book: A man who meets his lost friend in a new world. A seeker who resists everyone to reach an unwanted place. Lovers that separate, only to find some hope. A failed artist who finds another voice. A new entrant in a home who creates turmoil. A cheated girl who makes a desperate call. A shattered man who pegs on a sudden dreamy trip. With eleven stories of unrequited love, hope, acceptance, heart breaks or just needs, ‘Afsaane’ will tug at your heartstrings and open windows to people that experience unusual situations in far too usual lives.

About the Author: 

Ameya Bondre - Head: Clinical Research and Development - CareNX ...

Ameya Bondre is a physician and public health researcher, working with a healthcare technology start-up associated with IIT-Bombay. Born and raised in Mumbai, he studied at KEM Hospital, and later at Johns Hopkins University in the United States.

In spite of a rewarding professional life with honours from Johns Hopkins, MIT, Yale, TEDx, and several research publications, it is creative writing, which has been his constant companion over the years, with multiple rounds of writing and editing back and forth, periodic workshops, and continued learning from editors and readers alike.

He formally started writing short stories in the winter of 2017, to put them into ‘Afsaane’, his first book. BlueRose Publishers recently unveiled ‘Afsaane‘ at the World Book Fair 2020 in Delhi.

The Review:

I don’t know about you, but the last time so many feels had hit me was when I was sitting on a co-worker’s desk – devouring the last few pages of What If It’s Us? Ameya Bondre’s Afsaane is a collection of short stories: on the surface about regular, every day, and ordinary people. What makes it special is the fact all eleven stories touch upon emotions that are very true, and very real. That even after starting a fresh story – you cannot help but wonder what happened to the characters from the previous one.

Let me just say this: every story in the collection felt like two arms had reached out and dragged me into witnessing the events unfold before my eyes. Some stories gave me the happy, fuzzy feel, some gave me the chills, and some served as painful reminders of experiences that I had suffered – but I realized shouldn’t feel alienated by. Because we all have that one relationship we wanted desperately to work and it failed. We all have that one phone call that we can place, no matter the time of the day. And most importantly, we have that one friend who makes it easy for us to weave in and out of our present and our past, and who would help us make sense of the future.

Bondre does an amazing job of opening windows to the lives of the characters that he wants to tell us stories of. Their names are so common too. It feels as though he’s sitting next to you, with a cup of chai, telling you about the young couple’s shelf of memories, or about the woman wondering if divorce is really the right option, or the woman too afraid to chase her dreams. Of the guy who placed realized love really isn’t selfish or the couple who are overwhelmed by the sudden arrival of their new baby.

While all eleven stories had something unique to offer, my absolutely favourites were ‘Deaf’, ‘Not in the Dark’, and ‘Trapped’. ‘Deaf’ felt deeply personal and hit too close to home for my comfort. Not in the Dark had the most unexpected plot twist, and Trapped had one of the best narrators I’ve come across in a long time.

If you are wondering what to read over this weekend, Afsaane is highly recommended.

Buy Afsaane on Amazon | Check it out on GoodReads


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