Author Name: Compiled by Harsh Agarwal
Publisher: Half Baked Beans Publishing
Publishing Year: 2014
Atlas, I am pretty much confident that you, my dear readers are well informed about the meaning and usage of the term – Atlas. Yes, same is the purpose of this one-of-its-kind, anthology. It is an exclusive collection of stories based on true incidents in recent past. Though, the incidents are true but the stories are primarily fictional but at the same time, they are in close proximity with the cruel reality of this world.
The authors have done a commendable job in scripting such strong plots that at no point of time, you will feel as if they are stories, they will be read as a first-hand accounts from the victims themselves. The pain, the agony and the brutality comes packaged with the food for thought presented by every single anecdote. They not only intrigue you to ponder more but will run a rush in your body to act. Yes, the incidents are lost in the times but are strongly inscribed in Time’s Lost Atlas and the compiler – Harsh Agarwal has done is part by sharing the remnants with you in best possible shape.
I am thankful to Namrata (one of the contributing authors) for pesenting me with the review copy. At the same time, I apologise because I was under the impression that I had published the review but that was not the case. I thank her again for reminding me about the fallacy and providing me another chance for sharing my thoughts on the work.
Now, coming in terms with the compilation, here is my take individually:
- Beneath by Budhaditya Bhattachrjee
Is a gripping story of an informer and an agent, set in London. The author has successfully managed to hold the attention of the readers till the last words and doesn’t lets the secret and motive behind come out. He has catch hold of the psychology of the characters neatly and with utmost precision. Though, I felt a little scared initially but then, I was moving with the flow to catch hold of the situation. Should I rename myself a Lady James Bond? No way. J
- The Motown Conspiracy by Sakshi Shrivastava
Is a the thoughtful story based on the backdrop of General Motors Corporation, its fall and rise. This is an example of corporate filth, conspiracy and hidden agendas. You will be completely bowled over by the development of the events and they will leave you dumbstruck as the author unleashes the hidden truths across continents. This is a deadly amalgamation of capitalism, terrorism and a blind hunger for power! The author showcases her impeccable hold on words and her journalistic writing style supported with facts and findings is commendable. I liked how she put together the pieces first and then developed a story juxtaposing them.
- The One and the Only Purpose by Geetha Madhuri
Is an inspiring story of finding a purpose of living life. A line from the story says: “There lies the Olympic Flame which represents purity, the pursuit of perfection and the struggle for victory. It also represents peace and friendship”. This story is based on the plot of Olympics event of 2008 in Beijing, China.
Reading this story will help you to find a purpose to your life as well. Read to ignite the flame, within.
- In the Dark by Pooja Wanpal
Is a story based on Benajir Bhutto’s assassination back in Pakistan. The story unwinds how Terrorism attacks the ‘Muslims’ and the ‘Hindus’ alike! She attempts to deliver a message that pain has no boundaries and thus, it attacks all alike, be it an Indian or a Pakistani.
No doubt, terror belongs to no religion and has no ethnicity. The author needs accolades because she has revived the aura of the doomed day. I am sure, she was not present at the venue but still, she has managed to recreate the scene and the remorse effectively. She explains how the victims are traumatized to unbearable levels despite of their innocence and how they are thrown into the dark for rest of their lives.
- The Rising by Malvika Roy Singh
Is a painful experience of a reporter who was on an assignment in Nepal. There were many instances, wherein she has penned the serene simplicity and innocence of the Nepalese people. She attends to as minute details as their hospitality for accentuating the warmth of the personalities and the bestowed culture.
It was really painful to read the encounter with the truth, which usually goes amiss in media at large. A do not miss story from the collection. Surprisingly, humanity still survives in inhumane environments! My heart-felt hats off to the actual torch-bearers.
- The Filch by Namrata
Is a story of deception in love. How far do you think, you go for your love? Will you be able to lose yourself to your love? What cost are you prepared to pay – your life or your dreams or yourself? This is a shattering story of two worlds colliding into each other through the way of hearts. She leaves you mesmerized with the charisma of love but she questions, is this – love?
Apart from writing an expressive story, I was really amazed with the laurels earned by the authors. So many hats to be worn! I wonder how she manages all. I am a regular reader of her blog and her trifles.
- A Symphony of Concurrences by Vishal Bagaria
Is a pang of hitting head-on with the terror! How would you feel if you are caught red-handed with one of the culprits – the drivers of the terror i.e. the terrorists and that too not for one chance but twice! Discover, how the life turns upside down as the protagonist is spotted with a convict of recent mishaps in London.
- Pangs of Pain by Shruti Jain
Is the nerve wrenching tale from the collection. I could not hold my tears, any longer on reading this story. Though, it was something that was known to me (and many of you would be informed about) but the manner in which she has spun a story around the Tsunami massacre will drench your eyes and souls in no time!
This comes as an emotional account of coming in terms with the life to fight against death. It surfaces the darkness still prevalent in the sunny beaches with the brightest sunshine possible on this planet.
This is one of my favourite picks from the collection.
- United we Fall by Anurag Anand
Is an account of what all would have happened with Kalpana Chawla’s missile while entering into the atmosphere from the universe. Yes, you caught it correct, that un-fateful incident when we lost eminent personalities in mere fractions of seconds.
I rate this as the top scorer from the collection. May be because, I liked reading the live conversations (as they might have happened in real-time), the brain-storming session from spotting the problem till the time of finding a concrete solution. An example stating that we are merely toys in the hands of an ultimate player and nothing can go well-planned or say, as we plan!
10. Innocents at War by Adwitya Borah
Is a blood-oozing story plotted on Godhra Kand. It reminds you of the insecurity that prevails in the society at the times of social unrest. It unveils how people who are farther away as per societal norms come closer at the hour of need. Such inspiring stories are a proof that humanity is still persistent despite of certain disturbing elements playing active out on the roads, publicly.
A story that you can return to anytime whenever you are feeling low in life and in a dire need of some force that will keep you going against tides!
11. The Victims by Vishnu Vardhanann
Is a thorough analysis of the emotional turmoil of the victims of three incidents in New York. He has borrowed the voices of three victims and provided words to their experiences and their emotional outbursts. He has chosen a problem – solution approach by incorporating a psychologist – patient relationship in the story.
Such a holistic approach ensured that it provided a balanced perspective to the story and it made it yet more effective and appealing at the same time. You will definitely savour the different flavours served in front of you.
To sum it up, an impressive effort of reminding the literate (including reading and writing) community about their social responsibility of reigniting spark and relocating themselves to some meaningful coordinates on the Atlas that has been long lost. As far as I could re-collect and as the compiler has mentioned, this anthology was launched at the time when loads of romantic anthologies were pouring in, in the book market and I must say that it is here to stay. A timeless theme covered in stories crossing boundaries.
A must-read, especially for those who read not for eyes, not for hearts but for minds!
Ready to travel to Pakistan, London, Nepal, China, New York,India, in one single book?
With 11 stories encompassing 11 major events of the lst decade, this anthology is a concoction of tragedy, romance, mystery and thriller, brewed to perfection to ensure a nail biting experience.
Reminisce and relish the events which shook the world. Breathe the freshness of past, dive into the reasons that shaped the world as it is now, walk through your bygone times, fly across the continents marking your longest journey ever – for you hold the Time’s Lost Atlas in your hand.