12 Strokes of Life by Durgesh Shastri is a life bearing soulful collection of inspiring short stories. Indeed, an apt title visualised.

One fact that needs to be highlighted before starting a formal review is author’s story telling / story writing skills. I have by now, read a handful of short stories collections but none is close to this one. Be it story telling skills, be it selection of stories, be it its plot or characterization or anything; everything is in perfect sync.

The author sets the mood right from the beginning, keeps you binded with the story till the end and leaves a trail of thoughts behind once you finish. Every single story is a perfect primer for an individual book jacket.

Flavors are varied but the combo is vibrant and soothing. The icing on the cake is the tactful restoration of suspense by the end of each of the story.

Everytime, I finished reading a story, I craved to read more and couldn’t accept it’s UNTIMELY end. :(. I would definitely like to read more from the author’s desk.

Coming to the short story collection:

1. The Anonymous Donor is a story about Kanha Agarwal, a real estate shark who has ambitions to become a politician one day. In his desire, he competes with a neighbouring temple’s caretaker to secure more financial assistance. His aspirations shatter as the priest gets a decent donation from a anonymous donor. Who is the donor? Why did he or she chose to remain anonymous?It was a thrilling read as a totally unexpected climax awaits.

2. A Grave Mistake is about an incident in Kanchan’s life. A geave mistake that we all might be compelled to attempt but only to regret afterwards. But, is falling in love (just what Kanchan did) such a grave mistake OR dalling for love (just what Kunal did) shud be termed a mistake?Understand how our actions transform into mistake!

3. The Carefree Butterflies is a nerve wrenching story about Charulata and Suhasini. They were a simili of carefree butterflies until a mishappening shatters their life. What was it? Will they be able to restore their carefree attitude? Yes, but sadly, at a cost.

4. Deepak’s Superstitions is a light-hearted and humourous account about Deepak’s superstitions. A young boy entangled in glossy chain of superstitions fights with his destiny one day. Will he succeed to overpower the superstitions or will he once again fall into the dark well?

5. Lazy Sunday is a hard hitting story that has a strong message enveloped in words. An attempt to redefine the logics of ‘REALITY’.

6. The Lost Lady is a sweet close to heart and a heart warming story. It is about an old lady who forgets her way back to home. It is about the events that happen with her all day long. Will she get back to her home or will she fall prey to some trap?

7. Sweet revenge as the name suggests is a sweet story of a small boy taking revenge for his mother. Society is full of unethical social morons who donot give a damn to other living individuals. This story is an attempt to take a stand and fight for justice and earn self respect


8. Communication disasters is a jovial but tricky story. The story highlights the importance of communicating not only the words but emotions as well. You will definitely enjoy the Sumit’s non verbal communications and how he landed a job based on his so called weakness.

9. A Magic Lost is a journey down the lane with the main lead. Kit flying is a easily relateable emotion for every single Indian. Author has carved a beautiful love story around the theme but it gets stained with blood. Read the story to learn how these blood stains barr the vision amd hence the lead loses his magical skills to play with winds.

10. Romance is Matheran is a heart touching and very emotional romantic story. If you respect love, read the story and you will redefine the eternal feeling once again.

11. The Unanswered Questions is a funny tale of a bus journey. A boy meets someone’s during the journey and opens his heart out to him. He considers him to be his prospective father in law. You definitely gonna enjoy how he gets answers to his unanswered questions.

12. The Unfulfilled Wish is the best of the collection. Ironically a satisfying story for those who love to read and read to love. Yes, I am in my complete senses, as I am phrasing my sentences. A story about identifying and respecting true love irrespective of the glamorous barrier termed – age.

To sum it up, a must read for all those who enjoy relishing short but meaningful stories. A nice pick for gifting someone who loves to read. Printing quality is good. Nice job done by Ila Garg as the editor.