Book Review: Shades of Love (Ankit Mittal)

Book:  Shades of Love
Editor:  Ankit Mittal
ISBN:     978-9381-841-143
Publisher:  Grapevine India
Number of Pages: 232

There is something special about short stories that I feel. While reading, I couldn't help but be a little biased towards a short-story collection; maybe because I too write short stories sometimes. This time I received an ARC of ‘Shades of Love’ edited by Ankit Mittal. Mr. Mittal hailing from New Delhi, India, has completed a degree in Engineering and Business Management, and works as a financial consultant in a financial technology firm. Being a voracious reader and avid blogger he has ample experience of the literary world. ‘Shades of Love’ is an anthology of 25 short stories by 25 young and experienced writers. Its first anthology by Grapevine India to let readers experience different shades of that divine feeling called love. Let us find out what it has to offer.
Love’s shades are myriad and moving.
Shades of Love pays tribute to these human amours from the gentlest of yearnings to the most tenacious passions.
The cover jacket is again designed by famous graphic designer Alexander Koshelkov and is really beautifully designed. It’s indeed capable of drawing attention of readers in bookstores with its sophisticated white background and well suited color-scheme. As I opened the book, a disappointment welcomed me. Cover quality is one the best (like it was in Circle of Three by Rohit Gore), but paper quality is really poor. Its cream paper but looks like recycled paper, a big letdown. However, later the content quality overshadowed it, and I almost forgot that my reading lamp is on full-brightness!
Language of all stories is crisp, engrossing and poignant. However, I accept that I read it with exactly twenty five intervals, but that’s because I wanted to feel the stories, exactly in the way that writer wrote it. A few typographical mistakes are seen here and there, but negligible enough as it doesn't break flow of thoughts. If I start telling about every single story, I’m afraid, you won’t be left to read anything. So here I am mentioning a few stories that touched my heart in some way or other.
  1. Audi and Apocalypse (Aarush Deora): Probably, the most intense shade of love in the book. There are many moments where I found myself seeing it all happening right in front of me. If you trust me, I read it seven times, over and over again.
  2. He walks the Wild (Avneet Singh): I hate comparing writers, but this story does remind me of Ruskin Bond. Story is quite predictable, but has its own flair.
  3. A Hero Greater Than ShahRukh Khan (Rohit Gore): This story is written as a tribute to Mumbai flood victims, and can give you goose bumps with its lively narration.
  4. Of Flowers and Bangles (Pooja Wanpal): This story is something that I've heard from a close friend of mine. Never been able to consider it true, but while reading I couldn't stop myself from recalling the similarities between. This story is one, which is closest to myths and folklore, we often hear.
  5. The Remedy (Sachin Garg): Shortest of all, but strongest as well. Mr. Garg’s story is best (in my humble opinion) short story in whole anthology. A message that registers with ease and liveliest manner. This story is one, which is closest to reality. I even put a bookmark here!
  6. The English Teacher (Durjoy Datta): Written in typical Durjoy-Datta Style (if you can call it), but unlike Mr. Datta’s novels, it suffers from weak narration. Only reason of placing it in this list is The Darkness and unpredictability. This story is darkest of the lot, and I couldn’t predict its end, like I did of other stories.
  7. She Called It, Kikugasane (Tushar Rai): The most mature story of the whole book. And probably shade of love which we often see around.

Now to conclude the review, I must say ‘Shades of Love’ is a promising read. It does give a mystifying experience of the feeling called Love, and surely offers an engrossing read. Every story reflects a different shade of love, but somewhere I personally couldn't relate much to a few stories, especially ones, which reflect the shade of Lust. Most of the stories are predictable, but still able to surprise you. ‘Shades of Love’ is truly an astonishing collection of many adorable stories, and doesn't disappoint in any department (except the paper quality) and do give a satisfactory read to readers of every age group. If you are someone who doesn't have time to devoutly read a two-hundred-thirty-two page novel, it’s a must-read for you. And if you are a Hater of Love Stories, trust me; you will fall in love with it. And if you love Love Stories, oh please, you don’t need my review, Run! Buy It now!

On a personal note: I’d like to congratulate Grapevine India to provide such a platform to many young writers who are now Stars among their friends, and I hope/wish that such anthologies keep coming from your side. 

List of Contributory Writers in 'Shades of Love':
Vivek Banerjee, Monika Pant, Pooja Wanpal, Durjoy Datta, Rohit Gore, Aastha Atray Banan,   Pallavi Tiwari, Shwetha Ganesh Kumar, Aarush Deora, Sachin Garg, Pujita Krishna Jyoti, Tushar Rai, Akanksha Bhatia, Jyoti Mittal, Avneet Singh, Manisha Bhandari, Sreeju Sudhakaran, Nikita Singh, Anvita Budhraja, Ashish Dommety, Junaid A. Tagala, Shubham Choudhary,   P.G. Rao, Naman Kapur, Pernasi Malhotra. 

Happy Reading
AnSh :)

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