Bookish Witch

Chasing Nirvana by Rafaa Dalvi

Book Blurb:

Come tigers with your paws

I have my thorns.

Wander into a dark and wondrous world of emotions in Rafaa Dalvi’sflash fiction collection – Chasing Nirvana.

His stories are soothing, yet scintillating, motivational and magical, explore the macabre and the supernatural, with a gentle mix of the common and the special.

Witness the rise and fall of a rock legend, a cat-and-mouse game between a cop and a serial killer, and the last meeting between two lovers.

How far would a person go to understand a criminal’s psyche?

Can someone find their soulmate through a one-night stand?

What plan does an author hatch to punish the literary agent who rejected his manuscript?

In this book are stories for every season and every reason. The heady mix of human depravity, humour, satire, tragedy, revenge and drama makes these stories an essential cocktail of emotions.

Genre: Fiction/ Short stories

Pages: 238

Format: Kindle eBook/Paperback


  • Kindle eBook: 199 INR/ $6.99
  • Paperback (only available in the US): $12.50

My ratings: 4.3/5

The book is a collection of 52 flash fiction stories that leave behind much to think about; right from the way, we lead our lives to the direction where we are headed as humankind.

Snippets about life’s unpredictable moments, that sometimes come with pain, and sometimes also with pleasure.

What I liked about the book:
–> The stories offer a range of genres in a single book.
–> Most of the stories make the reader reflect on their inner self, their thoughts, and their actions.
–> Some stories speak boldly about our hypocritical ways as a society.
–> Each tale has developed characters that poignantly portray the many intricacies of life with the nuances of different human emotions.
–> The book is an apt example of ‘less is more’ because the author has done a splendid job of expressing a lot in just a few words.
–> Many titles leave behind a lasting impression. My favorite titles that will stay with me for a long, long time: Anti-Social Club, Inside The Criminal Mind, The Eighth Sin, Fortune Favours the Bold, Lying on the Couch, Smoking Kills, Eyes Wide Open, Wired to Care, Wrong Number, The Great Indian Tamasha, God Guides, A Moment in Time and Zodiac.

What I did not like about the book:
–> Quite a few stories were predictable.
–> A couple of stories were confusing (Time to Hunt, The Silent Ambulance), fell flat in their narrative, and were dull in comparison to most of the others.

Quotable quotes:

—> Controversy creates money.
—> Our choices make us who we are.
—> The teenagers were chatting loudly, office folks were munching on their burgers and drinking beer, and couples were flirting. I had forgotten how loud Mumbai nightlife scene was.
—> Why did it happen that you always ran into the very last person you wanted to see?
—> “You know him?”
“Sort of. Do we really know anyone?”
—> You can’t strive to be everything for everyone and still be true to yourself. You can either break the narrative that you’re self-sabotaging your life or carry on living in the hell you’ve created for yourself.
—> Find yourself a friend you can talk to. It not just helps. It’s everything.
—> The strongest person in the world is the person who isn’t afraid to be alone.
—> A serious author practices writing at every opportunity.
—> A simpleton who could not see that fact, or worse— and more likely—was deliberately withholding a book from the audience it deserved out of petty jealousy and spite, could not be allowed to continue in either the literary, or any, world.
—> That’s the frightening thing about love—some don’t know when to leave, while others don’t know how to.
—> College sucks when your best friend bunks to spend Valentine’s Day with her boyfriend.
—> A boy and girl are best friends for years. One day they look at each other and they realise they have been in love with each other the whole time? Definitely dramatic.
—> I masturbate. I’m not an idiot to have access to the most fun game and not play it.
—> That’s what falling in love does to you. No matter how awesome you feel, you eventually lose your head.
—> Teenage love rarely works. You may believe with all your heart that you will be together forever but come on, you’ll both end up in different colleges. You will slowly drift apart and pretty soon, you will forget each other. It is doomed to fail.
—> That’s what happens when you are an ignorant person. You may be innocent and not believe in discrimination. But all these good qualities won’t save you from the violent practices that others will inflict upon you. The world isn’t a fairy tale, and life is unfair. The earlier this lesson is learnt, the better it is for everyone.
—> There’s no better feeling than having a best friend who really gets you.
—> I care for him the way you care for a hurt dog. You want to help it, but you’re afraid it might bite you. So, you just feel sorry for it from a distance.
—> People say if we allow others to take advantage of us, we lose the right to cry when they do.
—> The dead are at peace but the living have to keep going.
—> The truth is, nobody is coming to save me. I will have to save myself.
—> The ugliness is still there in the world. But I will choose to see its beauty.
—> There’s more to life than how others see you.
—> Opportunities, not miracles, is the proof that God exists. God gives opportunities to everyone. Take your opportunities whenever you can find them.
—> She often wondered why some people lived comfortably while others suffered. Why did some of us have to be poor and toil all our lives while others spent money like it grew on trees?
—> There are certain things that are worse than others. A man who rapes a woman is a bigger monster than a man who murders one. Murder can be cold and impersonal. Rape is an intimate violation.
—> While many people didn’t want to sleep for fear of nightmares, I didn’t want to wake up to live my nightmare.
—> We humans have a tendency to prepare for the future. Be it storing grains for the winter or saving money in the bank, the ability to make plans for different potential futures is what makes us superior to other animals.
—> Feel no shame about the past, no uncertainty about the future. Every negative can be changed into a positive. Once you know how.
—> None of us would be able to commit to anyone, if we fear that we might miss out on someone better who will come along our way in future.
—> The best part of your life are the endless summers and no responsibilities. It is so good you don’t want it to ever end. And that’s childhood.
—> Don’t think of the past.
There is no perfect future unless you make it so yourself.
—> What love can’t solve, money can.
—> Open-mindedness and age were at two opposite ends.
—> Why did bad things happen to good people? Obviously bad things happened to bad people too. But it had become much more frequent to receive news that those taken from us were young, teachers, volunteers, or anyone we perceived to be better than us; the kind of people we never wished to see lifeless.
—> She was immature back then. She used to think that a woman needs to take shit from a man if she wants to be with him. She realised with time that she couldn’t have her way, ever. There are no true lovers and there are no soul mates. Love is an illusion, a complete and utter lie.
—> They pretended as if they knew what to do when neither was certain of anything anymore. They were like children acting grown-up.
—> Prashant lit a cigarette and reclined on the patio and considered the intricacies of his life. It was easy to do that at night, when all was quiet and the darkness was both—freedom and a prison.
—> Pretending was an art form, denial not so much.
—> Depression, was hitting rock bottom, and knowing that the dirt from the hole you’ve dug up is going to start piling up on you any second. Unrequited love can be a real bitch. Too much time and effort has been spent to fix the past whereas hope lay in the future and his ability to sculpt it.
—> We’re all dying. That’s what life is. Perhaps your most beautiful moment is when all is lost. At that moment, you’re at your most rare, almost extinct.
—> Cow? Brilliant! You don’t even spare animals. You’re indeed a true politician.
—> Some things People can teach you, some you can learn from the books, but there are few things that you have to see and feel yourself. You must become your own teacher.
—> There was nothing more heart wrenching than the simple act of waiting.
—> “Do you know what the most secular part in our body is?”
“Our heart?”
“No, sometimes the heart too learns to act prejudiced. It’s the oestrogen and testosterone that never differentiate between religion, caste, colour or creed; they always make the body react in the same manner if they find someone alluring.”
—> He had accepted her when she had braces and really big spectacles. And not to forget— acne. He always made her feel beautiful.
—> Sometimes the greatest journey travelled is the distance between two people.
—> Romance and love don’t necessarily have to end in a happily-ever-after. You can have your happy ending—it just depends on where you decide to stop your story. Sometimes your happily-ever-after includes another man or woman and sometimes it includes no one else but you putting every piece of the jigsaw puzzle back together.
—> Just because we can’t be with someone doesn’t mean we don’t love them anymore.
—> I was like the ship which let go of the harbour dark,
With a promise to come again some other day;
I came back with the hope of spring,
Only to discover, the seasons now stagnate.
—> One shows more warmth before ending a wrong number.
—> I love airports. There’s so much going on you never get bored. There’s a story in even the most mundane situations if you’re on the lookout.
—> I’m a noun and you, my adjective. I’m a season and you, my change.
—> All women find gay men trustworthy and believe that they give honest impartial opinions and good advices.
—> Are you upset that you’ve lost or are you just upset that you’ve lost the one you love to someone else? Is it a broken heart or a wounded ego?
—> My nephews and nieces think I’m the coolest in the family. Maybe because I always bribe them with gifts. That’s the fastest way to make a child love you.
—> It is harder to live than to leave. The ones left behind suffer the most because they have to live with the loss of their loved ones.
—> If you have left an imprint on someone’s life and if they remember you even after your death, then maybe you never really die.
—> You will live till the last person who remembers you lives.
—> When someone is born, we celebrate. When they leave, we grieve. It is the cycle of life. No one can escape it. That is why we are not alone. We are all part of that cycle. All we can do with the time we have is spend it with our loved ones and live life to the fullest.
—> You may have your differences, but nothing is more important than your family and friends.
—> Life is beautiful and happy sometimes, though also sad sometimes.
—> Yesterday I was alone but today you walk beside me. And the world somehow seems full of grace and delight.
—> Friendship and love are not that different; they both have the same desire to be close.
—> Life isn’t perfect. Every day we deal with stuff that we could have never predicted. On some occasions we deal well, on some we stutter, on some we fall. But always, we learn.
—> That’s how life is, at times. There is no right way to grieve. We can either lose ourselves in sorrow, accept the truth gradually and cope with the loss, or we can let the hollowness remain within us for as long as we live. We cannot control death, but we can control the meaning we give it.
—> The closure of one relationship could cement the stepping stone for another to flourish.
—> All the world’s a stage but forget that we are the actors. All of us have timed roles to play in each other’s life. Sometimes it’s the lead, sometimes it’s a guest appearance. Not a minute more. Not a minute less.
—> He wasn’t perfect, neither was she. But together, their combined flaws made them right for each other.
—> It is remarkable how intensely you can talk with someone with whom you haven’t been intimate.
—> You know what makes a person really immortal? You can live forever in the pages of a book, the reels of a movie, or the lyrics of a song.
—> You will go different ways but your lives will be governed by the same constant—the choices you make. We all undergo a phase in life where we question the choices we have made. Our choices make us what we are. A single choice, no matter how small, can change the course of your life forever.
—> Whenever you do something, let the need be yours, let the need burn in your heart.
—> Love is commitment, joy, understanding, patience, and reconciliation. Love sustains you, like breakfast.
—> We all go around wearing masks in the society to hide our real identities.
—> Our choices play an important role in our lives; they make us who we are.

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Favourite titles that will stay with me for a long, long time : Anti-Social Club, Inside The Criminal Mind, The Eight Sin, Fortune Favours the Bold, Lying on the Couch, Smoking Kills, Eyes Wide Open, Wired to Care, Wrong Number, The Great Indian Tamasha, God Guides, A Moment in Time and Zodiac.

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