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April 14, 2013

Notes on Kulpreet Yadav's 'India Unlimited - Stories from a Nation caught between Hype and Hope'

Author : Kulpreet Yadav
Publisher : LiFi Publications

Rating : 3 / 5

India has become a phenomenon in the contemporary world. It is capturing everyone’s attention from businessmen to Hollywood stars in the West - intriguing them and challenging their notions of what India represents. But how real is the Indian story on the ground? 'India Unlimited' is an attempt to bare the lives of the Indian people and their surroundings that define an ambivalent India trapped between Hype And Hope. 

The stories are set In villages, towns and Metro cities of a country under overhaul. It is an attempt to depict pain, pleasures and prejudices of everyday Indians as they adjust to the change that fate has thrust upon them. Inspired by real life incidents, this collection slides through various themes like appalling lives of street children, new perceptions of love or hate or sex, rampant organized crime, urban disorder, corrupt politicians, Influence of western values, depraved spiritual and Yoga Gurus et. al.

Just like most short stories collections published these days, this one has its own hits and misses, but most of the stories make a mark in dealing with the central theme of portraying the gap between what Indians expect in terms of money, respect and their individual professions. It helps that quite a few of the stories have been previously published in International Journals and online magazines, and to be honest are the best bits in the book.

The stories are told in lucid, easy manner without an hint of sounding preachy which is crucial for such a work because to be honest you don't want another lesson on how one should behave or feel in a developing country like India. The author maintains sensitivity in all his stories and that's the best part of the book. However, this comes at a cost of some stories being bland and a little boring to read. In few of the stories i found focused too much on similar feelings for sex and intimation which became repetitive as the book progressed.

The stories are situated across different strata of society and that's what makes this collection a little unique and does give a feeling of cohesion. Do read if you are a fan of short stories and looking for some quick bursts of self introspection.

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