Author: Divya Diana Dias
Publisher: Frog Books
Skid Marks of Logic is a collection of three not-so-short stories, each of them dealing with sexual awakening and the tryst with sensual touch. The author takes female protagonists to illustrate these stories against the traditional and sexually oppressive Indian society. All the lead characters want to shatter the chains that society has bound them with and eventually, win the war that rages within them, once and for all. Will they succeed? Or destiny has some other plans in store for them?
Ostrich deals with Payal who is stuck with a sad life (and even sadder people) in Ahmedabad. In between her strangely quiet ways and shy demeanour, she longs for a guy who can take her away from a life of drudgery and enforced hypocrisy. She meets Xerxus at a sangeet function and can't get him out of her mind. Thereby, starts a journey to find ways to be with Xerxus and cajoling him to do the unthinkable. Relying solely on hide-and-seek gimmicks, the author creates a believable world of a middle class family in a Tier-2 city. The Catch-me-and-kiss-me game goes on a little too long for my liking and at that time you are bound to feel frustrated at the lack of any common sense by most of the characters. It also a tad unbelievable how no one from the family ever catch Payal's hidden activities nor any other student bust this seduction balloon. But if you can overlook these fallacies, there is fun to be had. The lines are quirky and the narrative relies solely on the camaraderie of the two main characters both of which comes unscathed when it comes to making the sparks flew.
Friends with Benefits even though not new in concept, puts a fresh spin to such similar tales. Danielle is a 21-year-old-virgin who has never dated or kissed a guy. Seeking ways to satisfy her curious void, she resorts to surreptitiously writing erotica which is naughty and fantastic at the same time. Things get steamy when Satya, her best friend reads the blog post and proposes a mutually beneficial scheme. I particularly enjoyed the sexual frankness between Danielle and her parents, latter of whom seem surprised but still goes with her choice of life. The final sexual escapade with Satya even though stretched to unmanageable proportions still titillates enough to keep you hooked. You are bound to get restless with the constant chatter and few flat dialogues in the narrative, but it wraps up with a delicious surprise which is irresistible and funny.
Mergers and Acquisitions is the story of a forced entrepreneur, Janvi who is trying to manage the company her dad has left for her. Then an employee goes behind her back and commits a crime that could put the company at risk. There is a demand for vindication by the culprits but will it be so easy for a crime which is not-so-easy? I felt underwhelmed with the development of these characters, none of them felt someone i can emotionally invest. The concept, an affair between an employee and the boss, is centuries old and was not elevated through smart writing as it was evident in the first two stories. In the end, lines felt laboured, over-written and the end can be seen as far as apocalypse.
I am going with 3/5 for Divya Diana Das's ' Skid Marks of Logic'. Just like the intriguing title, it does provide occasional flashes of brilliance. Most of the stories based on cliches elevates themselves by smart writing at places. I just wished it was more compact and judiciously edited. Nevertheless, a competent debut by the writer from whom we can hope to read more in the future.