Friday, November 15, 2013

The Storm In My Mind - Review

The Storm in my Mind... is a collective narrative of events, habits, stereotypes and idiosyncrasies revolving around the contemporary society of Kolkata. It is a story of love as much as it is of hatred, passion, friendship, trust, misunderstandings, nostalgia and love for his city. It is the story of Aryan, his Kolkata and his mellowing heart that makes confessions of the times he has seen.

About the Author
Ayaan Basu is a striving author, an avid blogger and a columnist fighting his days between MNC-clad work schedule, writing and veracious travelling routine. Being single, apart from writing, he was also a singer/guitarist for a Kolkata based rock band Driftwood.

Sometimes you come across a novel that floods you with memories, nostalgia abounding in your senses, as you sip through the pages with a hot cup of tea, reminiscing the long lost days, when you were younger, looking up to face the world with the view of an explorer, failing and learning. ‘The Storm In My Mind’ does exactly that to me, as I unravel the simplicity in the words wrapped in the pages.

‘The Storm In My Mind’ is the story of Aryan Roy, an engineering student, and his relationship with his friends – Anushka, Kaira and Faiyaz – and Kolkata. You can easily guess the Kolkata connection when you look at the tagline of the book in the front cover – “Ami, Kolkata and Confessions” (Ami means ‘me’ in Bengali).

This is a story entangled in bonds – of love, friendship and camaraderie. The chapters work well together, and there is a smooth continuation that keeps you engaged in the story. Never for a moment will you find your attention straying or your interest wavering. The narration is lucid, and thus proves to be a quick read. In fact, you can easily complete this book within a few hours. And that is the biggest plus point of this novel – it will keep you engrossed.

I generally do not like Hindi conversations in an English novel. It tends to act as a speed breaker, halting the smoothness of the flow, and often a deterrent. However, I didn't feel so while reading this story. It too had its fair share of Hindi conversations, but they sublimely congregated with the story. They didn't seem out of place, and were apt, on most occasions.

Yes, on most occasions, and unfortunately, not on all. This doesn't apply to the Hindi snippets only. While the first half of the book is warm and cozy, the second part turns out to be pretty much ordinary. The plot becomes a bit more predictive, and even though the author does put in some finishing twists here and there, it fails to match the beauty that was woven in the first half.

However, considering this is Ayaan’s debut novel, it does hold a lot of promises of its own. The author tries an unconventional style of storytelling by characterizing Kolkata, something different and unique. The scenic beauty of the city are clearly described, which to me, a Bengali living out of his state, is a real gift. The author beautifully takes us through the different lanes and localities of Kolkata, enchanting us with the beauty of this ancient city. In fact, his attempts are quiet successful, and Kolkata seamlessly integrates with the other protagonists of the story.

I would love to read more from Ayaan. Here is a debutant who knows how to recollect the memories that are often cherished. This is a book about love, life and Kolkata. If you have ever been in this part of the city, lived or worked here, you will surely love this book. Just give it a try, and you may find it to your liking.

Title: The Storm In My Mind
Author: Ayaan Basu
Publisher: Srishti Publishers
Publication Year: 2013
Language: English
Binding: Paperback
Genre: Fiction
No. of Pages: 168
Price: Rs 100
My Rating: 3/5