Book Review – Window Seat

Book: Window Seat – Rush Hour Stories from the City

Written By: Janhavi Acharekar

Genre: Life – Contemporary – Drama

Window seat: Rush-hour stories from the city’ by Janhavi Acharekar has a captivating cover page, with a collage of scenes from around Mumbai. And essentially, that’s what the book is about too – a glimpse into the lives and times of current day Mumbai dwellers. The book consists of thirty tales that delves into the myriad elements of a regular metro life – the stories deal with human emotions that surface daily – ranging from love-lives, family troubles, marriage woes, nostalgia, deceit, to glamor and immorality. The stories live up to their ‘rush-hour’ tag, and really do portray the effect of witnessing different facets of the harried lives from the window seat of a speeding Mumbai local train. You are able to relate with the characters, you find them entertaining, but you tend to forget them as soon as you get off the train and get on with your life. Acahrekar’s stories are the same – arresting while they last, and forgettable later on. The book is a medley of below-average stories that deal with lame mundane plots and some absolutely brilliant tales, that are intense and talk about deeper issues like communal riots. (The story that talks about the riots is “The Good Riot” and is my favorite from the collection. This talks about the onset of Mumbai communal riots and how this seeds villainy in young minds. This story was shortlisted for The Little Magazine New Writing Award 2006 .)

Janhavi Acharekar seems admirably skilled and adept at her play of words. Her mastery of the language and her creativity stand out; and the plots are all original and refreshing, even if some of them are not very interesting.

If what you are looking for is a light read, it would pay to stay off this book. If you do not mind being swept through dark emotions and metro drama, this might be worth a read.

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