Title : CONFESSIONS OF AN MBA and other stories
Author: Vinod Kaul
Publisher: Frog Books, Leadstart Publishing
Eight crisp, short stories that lay bare the aspirations, fears and insecurities of the small town, middle class Indian, sans the cloying poignancy in the narrative, and that is where the writer scores. Vinod Kaul has steered clear of injecting unnecessary pathos in his characters, down and out as they are. The lead story about the jobless MBA, written in first person, Gautam’s insecurities, demons, and that of his peer group, is a raw story, candidly put without too much fuss. In Citylights, the protagonist is a small town bloke who quickly morphs from a vulnerable newbie to one who is unabashedly selfish as he grapples to fit in with the trashy crowd he befriends and life thereafter.
Particularly stirring is the story ‘Final Goodbye’, about the dislocation of Kashmiri Pundits, the struggle, call of nostalgia and the aftermath. At a time, when the new government in Delhi is showing rare sensitivity to the botched up story of Kashmir and the controversial Article 370, this narrative shows good reason to support the abolition.
The writer refrains from pontificating or moralising in defence or against the characters, which is refreshing. All stories end with a little twist in the end, and a definitive closure, which I personally appreciate very much, thank you! Irksome, those stories with endings that make one wonder if they forgot to attach the last few pages.
As is the wont of all first time fiction writers, the biographical elements from Kaul’s life, the IIM MBA, Kashmiri, Canada, distance running and such, are interwoven across the stories. Beyond that, Vinod Kaul has successfully avoided the ‘first-time writer’ booboos; such as lengthy irrelevant details, dull writing without a sense of place, too many clichés, bad editing, to name a few.
After this excellent start, we sure hope Vinod Kaul will soon be out with his first novel. And we will get to review it for our readers.