Bookish Witch

The Grandmaster & Other Short Stories by Chinmaya Desai

Book blurb:

Never judge a book by its cover…you will be surprised by what lies within!

A Chess Grandmaster is accused of losing a World Championship game intentionally… A middle-class sexagenarian from Nagpur receives a surprise visit from an old friend… A lady will go to any extent to get an ingredient for her recipe… A Mayan explorer in 498 AD encounters a storm and drifts to ancient India… A Brigadier plans to surprise a civilian with a war memento… A politician wants to save the beautiful Seria Valley from an unscrupulous builder… A jet-setting banker gets into a verbal duel with a woman during a plane journey…

Debutant author Chinmaya Desai delves into the lives of “ordinary” people and answers some extraordinary questions. Through his lucid and captivating writing, he brings to the fore how there is always something more than what meets the eye.

The Grandmaster & other short stories is a selection of fictional tales that provide a glimpse of life’s different facets and oddities. It is these experiences that make our journey interesting, colourful and ends where you least expected it to.  Explore these fast-paced tales, with a twist that will keep you turning pages till you reach the end…

Genre: Fiction/Short Stories

Pages: 134

Format: Kindle eBook/Paperback

My Ratings: 4.7/5

Based on the tiny details of day-to-day situations and human relationships, the stories in this book range from Ancient History to British Era and from the post-British Era to the current modern Indian scenario. In short, the book has a taste of everything.

Stories exploring various facets of human life.

What I liked about the book:
–> The beautiful/funny/insightful thoughts added at the end of each story.
–> The witty wordplay on most of the titles (Who Let the Dogs Out, The Hounds of Bhaskar Villas, G Male, Robin Could)
–>The plot of each story is unique and intriguing, with a moral/message and a twist in the end.
–> The stories where the author himself appears and weaves a tale from conversations he has had with co-travelers or acquaintances.
–> The historical fiction added to some of the stories (especially The Mathematician)
–> The witty one-liners in the narrative and in the form of dialogues between the characters.

What I did not like about the book:
–> The author appeared to be a bit arrogant in two of the stories (The Woman in The Yellow Saree and Strollmaster)
–>The grammatical errors and switching of tenses.
–>Some of the twists at the end which supposedly are the highlight didn’t make sense or were very much predictable, and hence the story fell flat in such cases.

Quotable quotes:
—> Weekends are like orgasms; you take a long time to get there and eventually when you do, they are over too soon!
—> There is never enough time to do nothing.
—> For mere mortals like me, the sagely word for a great weekend is dissociation – a complete severance and detachment over what has happened in the past week.
—> Switching off your phone isn’t that bad. Time goes “on”.
—> If your friend checks in on Facebook to the latest do, with a status “having a gala time”, he/ she is not necessarily telling the truth.
—> He likened chess to an organization, the eight pawns or soldiers like factory workers – toiling day and night; the two bishops or camels like the sales force, crisscrossing the country to hard-sell products; the two rooks or elephants like audit, accounting, and finance – moving only straight, but firm in their dealing; the knights or horses like innovators – jumping two and a half steps at a time with new ideas; the king like a Chairman – slow, steady and surefooted and finally, the queen like the CEO – aggressive, but in control of each and every one!
—> The pomp and celebration that followed the idols often bordered on hooliganism and the vulgar dancing would make Bollywood item numbers feel like a performance by the church choir.
—> “There is a problem with this generation,” the professor thought with despair. “No sense of duty, no sense of obligation. All they care about are friends and parties. Things that are taboo to society, like drinking and smoking, have now become fashionable. They eat out with naked abandon; they hug friends of the other gender even after they are married and they dress highlighting skin rather than a cloth. They don’t want to sow the seeds but only eat the fruit. This country educates them, nurtures them, and not unlike flamingoes, they migrate for greener pastures.”
—> People often talk about the younger generation as if they didn’t have anything to do with it.
—> Two hounds (one male, the other female) – named Krishna and Kaveri (Ekta Kapoor and Rakesh Roshan would have leapt with joy hearing the name) – were purchased to guard over the gates.
—> Yes, meditation and beer both help you achieve the “higher” state of consciousness.
—> He had heard, from traders, the legend of a mad Greek Pythagoras who had prophesied 350 years ago that you can reach a place faster diagonally than going straight. The Indians had actually implemented it.
—> Had he known about Queen Kaikeyi, he would have realized that Indians knew politics 3500 years ago.
—> “Husband’s Guilt” is my self-concocted theorem calling out a singular emotion where the husband feels guilty for his wife for the privileges he gets for being the sole bread earner of the family or the highest-earning member of the family by a large margin. He, then, usually atones for this guilt by buying his wife presents. Romantics call this love; shrinks…oops! Psycho-analysts say it is but another manifestation of the male ego trying to tell his wife that he is “one up”. Everything said; all agree, it exists!
—> Cinema seems to shrug recession the way a tennis player shrugs that little droplet of sweat from his forehead. Even recession doesn’t stop people going for a movie.
—> Mother’s Love Transcends All Boundaries. Even God.
—> As per international laws, the originator of a story or an idea is always the owner; however, that has not been the case in practicality. “Ideas” are the most common stolen commodity in the world today, more than bicycles, shoes, cash and cellular phones combined. However only 2% are reported because – 40% cases where ideas are stolen by powerful organizations, influential individuals or close friends or family. – 20% cases where the victim realizes quite late, by which time the idea has grown and matured. – 40% cases where victims aren’t even aware that their ideas have been stolen. So next time you have an idea – use it, publish it, share it, but also protect it!
—> I wrote several letters to my sweetheart. I forgot to sign them. She has now married the postman.
—> There is little or nothing common between someone and his/her best friend and it is the uncommonness that binds and keeps the friendship alive.
—> “Agar Admi life me galat kaam karega to kahin na kahin se uski bajegi.”
– Told to me 10 years ago by a friend
in a philosophical bar-room
the conversation after three pegs
—> Writers have to feel. They need not necessarily know a subject.
—> There was once a man. Let’s call him MC. MC for male chauvinist, not what you thought about.
—> If in your mind you have any ideas of superiority,
blot them out. You have none!
– Anonymous
In most of history, anonymous were mostly women.
– Virginia Woolf (American Author)

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