This is a very unusual book review for me, mostly because it is a genre that I hadn’t touched before – the genre of the Indie books or more formally Independently Published books. I came across these books recently when I was publishing my own short story for the Kindle Hindu Lit4Life Wordsworthy contest and was pleasantly surprised at the selection that is available and the quality of writing. While this is in no way comparable to some of the published writers there are hidden gems which will take you off guard.
A little about the author himself here. Ravi Bedi, Chemical Engineer from BHU and now a retired Air Force engineer with a passion for music, painting and more recently prose, has five books to his credit one of which through a major publication (Lover’s Rock, Rupa Publication). His Seven Stories is a collection of seven short stories published on Kindle in 2016.
Seven Stories comprises of seven very different stories albeit sharing some common undertones. The emotions range from that of unrequited love to treachery and of crafty criminals to jilted lovers. His language is unpretentious and wraps cozily around his characters softly egging the stories on. His characters borrow heavily from the author’s passions for music and painting as well as of golf and from his long career in the Air Force. The ex-Army officer in Drifting Shadow who has now turned into a painter, the gullible husband retired from the Army and with a dislike for modern paintings in Nude Portrait, the rebellious squadron leader from the Great Escape and finally the impulsive Flying Officer Chris in The Last Puff – while all of these characters display discrete emotions and conduct themselves very differently through the stories, they some how seem to converge into one master character. Although the narrative takes the reader through the lives of the protagonists, treading guardedly through their often bruised pasts, there seems to be a thin veil that covers them and hides their soul from the reader. But nonetheless what the author lacks in the depth of characterization is wholly compensated by the variety of plots. The pulsating search for an elusive critic in the midst of an airport to the quiet ascension of a symbiotic relationship between an older widow and her new tenant, from a murder waiting to be solved to the shattering life of a subdued and despairing woman; every story sets its unique pace and rhythm and a conclusion that at times is fulfilling while at others keeps you wanting for more.
These stories are not without its touches of brilliance such as in the Great Escape when two different characters think of the same ‘quilt’ in two different ways – while Veeru sees it as the ‘colourful quilt’, Joginder Singh remembers it as a ‘padded quilt’. Similarly in Save the Words, the different characters at the airport all culminate into one sweeping glance across terminal as the protagonist frantically searches for an unknown face. All in all, the Seven Stories by Ravi Bedi is a sure relief from the deluge of young adult love stories germinating in the indie book space right now and is a definite companion for a weekend afternoon.