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#BookReview--> When Strangers Meet.. by K. Hari Kumar

Title and Author: When Strangers Meet by K. Hari Kumar
No. of Pages(Paperback): 216 pages
Publisher: Srishti Publishers & Distributors (1 May 2013)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 9380349939
ISBN-13: 978-9380349930

Genre: Indian Writing, Humor, Suspense, Satire

My Review:

I have had this book for sometime now and every time I picked it up to read, I was interrupted and so it lay waiting to be read on my shelf. But then I got a chance to read it the other day and what can I say, I was totally hooked! :)

When Strangers Meet is the story of three strangers who are all waiting for a train and while waiting in the "The Resting Area" some events occur that change the lives of all these people.

Firstly there is the runaway, Jay who is running away from his family in order to pursue his dream of becoming an actor. Then there is the Pathan, Ansari who has always religiously followed the right path and despite his poverty, always thanked Allah for his blessings and who is now on the verge of changing his life as well as the life of his family forever. Finally there is Iyer, a chubby and jovial man who has seen and experienced it all.

What are the events and how they prove to be the changing curves in these strangers' lives is what the story shapes and delivers.

When I started reading this book I was not impressed and was slowly getting the unholy idea of skipping it because of the unnecessary and all too frequent use of the F- word and slang that I felt could be done without. Also the grammar and misplaced arrangement and usage of words and phrases was a nuisance but then after the initial chapters or more specifically after Jay's introduction, the presentation as well as the writing style changed to better writing, less confusion with the words/phrases and a lot more reality to the settings. For me the dialogues in Jay's story felt unreal and slightly overdone with the author trying to add more slang to give the setting a more modern feel. The Father- Son relationship angle is better handled in Jay's case in the latter part of the book than in the introduction. Some more time should have been given to the editing phase to dispense with the grammatical and nonsensical mistakes.

"She was vexed out of the posh discotheque", "..waded away at the boy's face", "... household was burning on fire..","on a most unlikely manner", "pointed his fingers..","squirreled at his son" etc.

The cons part aside, the story has many pros too. Ansari and Iyer's stories are expertly handled and executed and they touched my heart with their simplicity and down to earth reality. The writing in these stories is simple, elegant and holds the attention of the reader. The author is specially successful in bringing out all the colors from South India in Iyer's story.

I loved the plot and kudos to the author for conceiving and executing it so beautifully. There is perfect balance between all the characters and each is given its due share of spotlight in the story. The suspense is very admirably held and the climax is stellar which left me shocked and so touched.

A gripping story that gets better and better with each page and that will keep you at the edge of your seat till the very end. A great book from a very promising debut author and with some great dialogues, I give
When Strangers Meet a 4.5 out of 5. Had the initial part been handled as the latter one, this story would have been a full 5 on 5 book for me. Nevertheless, here is a story that will make you smile, cry, feel blessed and also thrill and chill you, all in some 200 plus pages. Worth every penny spent and then some more, I loved the whole stranger-meets-stranger-at-a-station idea and hope to read more from K. Hari Kumar in the future.

"May the stranger find a place in your heart..
Forever.." and he did in mine. Sometimes its just a chat with someone unknown that sets us in the right path. :)

A not to be missed book, I strongly recommend it to everyone.

Some memorable quotes I loved:

'The Greatest epic is your own life's story. From the moment you set your foot outside your mother's womb, an epic is set in motion that keeps evolving until the day you leave this place. For some, the story never ends, their legacy continues.'

"Ignore things that aggravate you, instead of reacting to them. Laugh your way through everything, every day. It is funny but at the end, we are all dirt in the sand. What is the point in wiping off the dirt, when you know you will be covered again soon?"

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