Bombay Review & Other Stories is a collection of stories inspired by real life incidents. The stories are woven around tales of drama, romance, unrequited love, unbridled ambition, avarice, murder mysteries, politics, legacies, the conflict between ethics and what is purportedly unethical, about writers (accomplished and the one’s emerging), singers and artistes, betrayal, issues pertaining to sexuality, sex change, faith, hope, and the law of attraction. The drabbles are drawn on occurrences which take place around us in our daily lives.I have been inspired by the epic Mahabharata, Panchatantra tales, and Zen stories as they capture human emotions and behaviour in totality which resonate in my stories in current days. To my mind life is a synodic curve, with upheavals, storms, vicissitudes, and great moments. Nothing is purely white or black. There is a vast shade of grey in between. Humans always have a choice before them and take the plunge. Characters like Karna, Arjuna, Dronacharya, Buddha, Ashwathama, Bhishma, Duryodhana, Shakuni, various Zen Masters and heroes and villains from Panchatantra find a place in the stories set in present times.
“Bombay Review & Other Stories” by Ravi Valluri offers a diverse collection of narratives inspired by various tales. The stories delve into various aspects of life, including drama, romance, ambition, betrayal, and the clash between ethics and unethical choices. The collection offers a unique blend of traditional narratives with a contemporary twist, providing readers with an intriguing exploration of the shades of grey within the human experience.
The theme of the stories explores the intricate web of human emotions and behavior, drawing parallels from the Mahabharata, Panchatantra, and Zen stories. The collection’s strength lies in its exploration of moral values, portraying a world where bad actions often beget undesirable consequences.
The drabbles — micro-fiction stories — effectively capture the essence of each story in under 200 words, making them a quick read, which is engaging and thought-provoking.
Valluri’s writing style is characterized by simplicity and ease of accessibility. The fast-paced narratives keep readers hooked, with “winsome” and complex characters contributing depth to the storytelling. The use of characters from Mahabharat and other folk tales in modern settings provides a fresh perspective in contemporary situations.
The transition and flow within the stories could be refined for a smoother reading experience. I don’t generally comment on the formatting of the book, but the italicization of certain phrases in continuous narration seems out of place.
Despite these nuances, I found “Bombay Review & Other Stories” to be a decent read, particularly for those inclined towards dark stories or reinterpretations of popular and mythological tales.