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Book Review: Two Minutes to an Eclipse and Other Moments by Anshu Choudhry

Two Minutes to an Eclipse and Other Moments by Anshu Choudhry is a fascinating read, offering fifteen short stories in a mix of first and third person narrative. The book teems with a rich and diverse backdrop, and each story’s premise differs from one to another.

The collection’s focal point walks around the invited and uninvited moments of life that make, break, and ossify the tendency of human emotions and patterns. Despite variance in themes, the collection’s common thread is its beautiful description of ambience, such as sometimes chirping birds, sublime detailing of climate, and powerful sweeps from the past, and so on.

“They floated at the highest point the eye can see, a speck of black; the mole on the face of the sky marking its blue beauty with unassuming elegance. And then they would arrive in hordes, swimming in the sky their synchronized dance; bodies in harmony with the rhythm of their souls.”

The opening and closing stories of the book commence and conclude with a bang. It begins with Bhadra’s Chant, the story dates back to ancient India where a Police Chief kills his daughter for transgressing the societal honour. The story in snatches chants Sanskrit words, augments the tempo of a self-revelatory crime thriller. The collection doesn’t meditate on the litany of woes plaguing women…but the first story marks the trampling of one beautiful mind of a ravishing young woman.

The last story, ‘The Oasis’ revives hope after destruction. The narrative follows an old temple frequented by hurried office goers where a vagabond sage longs to build a shelter for himself. Ironically, the divine intervention lashes out torrential rain causing havoc to the newly abode of that saint. So much destruction that the temple loses its sheen of being worshipped!

The titular story, “Two Minutes to an Eclipse” is quite a relatable story where people are bamboozled for money on the pretext of their beliefs, faith, and religions. Such incidents are common at traffic signals of cosmopolitan cities.

It’s to be noted that the author placed women at central positions of the stories but it isn’t a piece of feminism. With an equal √©lan, the author speaks of both the feminine and the masculine, of each one’s tussles and fears. There might not be direct message in each story but theme wise the book is highly readable, at times it dwells on its serious and heavy content, yet there are stories for light moods such as Sins of Ramdin that hold hope and act of kindness.

Evidently, the stories are fictional, yet it looks that most are drawn from real life incidents. The stories revolve around different themes like injustice, caste system, destructive superstitions, rejections, etc. However, if for not all, readers may empathize with the pain the characters faced in the heat of the moments.

With human emotions at the forefront, the stories displayed in the book have more depth and meaning. The author’s power of concise and lucid narration allowed readers to feel the myriad emotions of the characters, along with temporal slice-of-life vignettes.

Buy your copy from Amazon.


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