Racy read
Randeep Wadehra

Trust MeTrust Me
by Rajashree Rupa. Pages 242. Rs 95

PARO is an unsophisticated, blush Ďní tears girl from the back-of-beyond Amravati, out to make a career as art director in the glitzy ad world of Bombay. Innocent of the Metroís ways, she mistakes her colleague Karanís dishonourable intentions for love and suffers heartbreak (and even an abortion) in the bargain. Her agony multiplies when her boss tries to take advantage of her vulnerability. She resigns her job and seeks solace in the company of her friends Saira and Kavita who are much more experienced in the ways of philandering males. Like them she too concludes that all men are bastards and that the phrase, "trust me" coming from male lips is an expletive. Soon she joins a movie production house where she witnesses cynical sexploitation and other seamier aspects of Bollywood. Nonetheless, during the shooting she encounters actor Rahul Kapoor, triggering off romance peppered with Bollywoodian sequences of girl crashing into boy, roadside serenades, melodrama et al. The narrative is entertainingly breezy. High brow logic is absent. Curl up in your bed and enjoy this chic-lit.

Strange MeetingStrange Meeting
by Saros Cowasjee Vision Books. Pages 152. Rs 190

IN this collection of 14 short stories and five anecdotes, the geographical spread covers India and Europe while the time-span comprises World War II to post-Independence India. The characters portrayed are varied, and emotions kaleidoscopic. A cosmopolitanís encounter with a Punjabi rustic aboard a Toronto-London flight evokes both empathy and mirth in Strange Meeting, while His Fatherís Medals and What Price Bread? are powerful comments on our hypocrisy and insensitivity vis-`E0-vis societyís underdogs. Most of his stories are amusing and thought-provoking while some bemuse with unexpected endings or by giving sex a psychoanalytical touch. Mona Begum Cowasjee uses the language economically but effectively to tell a tale. The five Ďsketchesí involving an Indianís experiences in Dublin, the Hyde Park and France are most entertaining. Unputdownable.

Mona Begum
by Rummy Nandlal Abhishek, Chandigarh. Pages 126. Rs 295

Hereís a collection of short stories with a book-cover portraying a cringing half-clad girl trying to cover herself. Perhaps, it represents the protagonist of the very first story, Mona Begum that begins on a promising note. It is about the travails of a Bangladeshi girl-child who is married to an aged sex-hungry Nawab. She flees to India to start life afresh, but canít escape her fate. Nandlalís story ideas are original and interesting. Sadly, one canít say the same of the treatment, syntax and the narrative style. Irrelevant details, absence of structure and meandering storyline test oneís patience. Readers prefer taut plots and easy-to-read stories.