A Fallen Leaf

A Fallen Leaf

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Fall - a simple word with many meanings. It is as beautiful as a season or falling in love and as unpleasant as a misfortune. But like seasons that come and go, misfortunes and tribulations have their beginnings and ends as well. All leave us with one thing: experience. Experiences that can be spun into distinct stories. And this anthology, ‘A Fallen Leaf’, is a colourful testament to that. Join us as fifteen fallen leaves…

A Fallen Leaf  is a collection of short stories written by the amazing authors of Penmancy. The best part is-the synopsis of each story was presented in the form of a poem. Each one added essence to each story as they were adorned with words so apt. The book is a must read. Each story will touch the readers mind and they perfectly compliment the title. The stories are bound to tug at your heartstrings and knock your cranium. They will make you wonder and wander. And you will return to the poems several times; for, once won’t definitely be enough. 

Canary in a Coal Mine

As the story unfolded, I found myself walking down the corridor, to the royal courtyard.  And that happened ‘cause of the well done descriptions.  The closing lines simply touched me. A perfect and happy ending.  A story with no fights; no conspiracies; no arguments.  This fact impressed me the most. The language was lucid; narration was smooth with no exaggerations.  A healthy encounter between Priyamvada and Riddhiman which highlighted the mature character trait of both. This is how it should be; was the thought that popped inside my head. She chose well for herself and for the king to be.  Rianka Bose is a wonderful storyteller and this story was done in good taste. 

The (Mis)fit 

The description of the messy room made me wonder… And the authors words made me visualise the “confusing laundry,” and I guess I too, heard the kettle speak. What a mess it was! I loved how Saravjot took care of Sheena’s thoughts, actions and reactions. An inspiring story with a beautiful message. The touch of reality made the story special. It’s fun to stand out than to fit in. The father-daughter relation was beautifully portrayed throughout the story.  I liked the choice of words too. They fitted perfectly to the story and the emotions embedded within. What a meaningful story! Simply touched. Every detail was well taken care of.  The ending line said it all. An absolute lovely piece of a story. 

A Mosaic on the Garden Floor

A grand start with beautiful descriptions of Fall, by Kaia. I applaud Sharanya for executing plot carefully, while taking care of the minor details. Wow! What an amazing journey she had. The incidents she witnessed; the emotions she observed in different humans…her own flight… What a thoughtful concept for ‘A Fallen Leaf.’ The mention of one of my favourite book ‘Wuthering Heights’ and the thoughts of the bride, expressing her feelings for her dad… almost brought tears. The warmth could be felt throughout her narration. I was hooked till the end. The closing line was just perfect; the luscious cherry on a yummy cake.

Refugee 

A heart-wrenching story! The devastating war, struggle to survive, hope for a new beginning, grief, loss…this story had every element essential for the plot. The plot was excellent; a true to life story which effects numerous humans every day, worldwide. Sam’s assurance and Wahid’s decision turned out to be fatal. Last Hope failed to transport them safely. Millions of people take such risks with hope in their hearts, but only a few makes it till the end. Koushik highlighted the facts of a major crisis and narrated the story well. The closing lines were beautiful too. I missed to spot the plots connection to the title like in the other stories. The unsuccessful journey, the loss of his children was a fall, yet I was looking for a more precise connection. Overall, a good story.   

Hope

Fantastic message shared through the story. Indeed, its not easy to get over a dreadful experience, but once we fight our fears, and those demons that lurk within, we come out victorious. A very important lesson was shared through the story by Srikanth Singha Ray. Overcoming fear, through the very same thing that we are scared of, has been well highlighted by the writer. I was holding my breath for the entire time till Gaurav went out of the water holding Diya. The writer made me visualise the entire event through his impressive storytelling skill. I could feel Gaurav and his dilemma, but the way he came out victorious was applaudable. An inspiring story.

Useless 

Nothing and no one is useless. And that’s what this story is all about. Very tactfully handled plot, with a fine example of transformation through teaching. Indeed, when we advise others, the same helps us indirectly. A teacher holds great responsibility; they can make or break. This story has brought forth an important message. Nisha did a wonderful job through her message to Rahul. Bullying, humiliation can have adverse effects and can be damaging. Nisha found her way out which was quite inspiring. She found her lost self and at the same time helped Rahul to grow strong. Smooth narration, lucid language and a wonderful story by Shailaja Pai.

The Torchbearer

I could well connect with Rumeli, a thoroughly city-bred girl moving to a remote village. The descriptions of the cart journey, the welcoming, her thoughts and reactions were penned beautifully. Sreemati Sen, a master storyteller, and spooky tales being  her forte, this story too, raised my goosebumps. Lucid language, simple dialogues, crisp narration made the story a very interesting read.  I was engrossed till the end. Rumeli’s encounter with Rani, the way the past unfolded, and the minute details – everything was perfectly taken care of.  The family reunion and start of  Durga Puja in that premise, how she gave mukti- added charm to the story.  The epilogue was well used to conclude the story. Interesting it was to read how Rumeli was brought in to her old village, for a purpose. Just a point that striked- Rani was still sane enough to recognize her daughter so quickly, after years of suffering and the shock she went through. Nonetheless, I enjoyed every bit of the story. 

Varied Moods, Varied Seasons

A heart wrenching story by Sitharaam Jayakumar. The varied shades of life was well presented through the story. The title of the story and the book was justified through the plot. The tricks of fate is unknown to the humans, but life goes on. The essence of every season was well blended with that of our lives. I felt that the narration could’ve been a bit crisp. The end seemed hurried. I would have loved to read more on ‘The warmth of Summer.’ And more about the incident, the shock and his pain. Seemed like he recovered too soon. The thought behind the plot was definitely noble. I liked Iqbal’s character. The reconciliation at the end was a good way to wrap the story. Overall, a good story with a message.

The Funeral

The author Nilutpal Gohain has penned an entertaining story. A bit funny and portrayed the human emotions related to an old family members death. The long wait, the mishaps, the doctors verdicts, the actions and reactions of the relatives and neighbours made it a funny read. I felt the story around his grandfather’s death was dragged for a bit long and sounded quite monotonous. I would’ve liked if there were some twists…an incident related to rigor mortis would’ve made it more interesting I think. I couldn’t connect it to the main title too. Not bad but could’ve been a better story. 

Behind The Bars

A heart-wrenching story of two convicts waiting for their own kind of freedom. Kajal’s Kapur’s narration brought Bishen’s character alive. I could feel the emotions he was going through. The descriptions of the jail life, the proceedings that a convict faces, their dilemmas and emotional turmoil was carefully brought forth. The line –“Our conscience is bound to kill us a million times each day” was portrayed thoughtfully through the reactions of the two characters. Each character played their role perfectly. Crisp narration, lucid language and an interesting plot made the story a good read. The protagonist’s name was another interesting aspect of the story and made me wonder if he would be lucky enough to get the freedom he wished for. Or freedom from the guilt of the crime he commited mistakenly. Overall, a gripping story that will make the readers feel and ponder. 

Second Chances

This is one story which I wished could just go on and on. The narration made me flow with the events. Each of the characters played their roles perfectly. No exaggerations, crisp narration and a beautiful plot. The title ‘A Fallen Leaf’ was blended into the story smoothly and at the right places. Loved this story. The emotions were subtle and justified.  The start was very welcoming. The author, Kavitha Kandaswamy’s storytelling took me to Verona. I wish there was a bit of description about the beautiful picturesque city. A story that got my complete attention. Kenia and Siam’s characters were portrayed rightly and was given the right amount of space in the plot. Second chances can just be so beautiful. That’s what the story made me feel. The closing lines were simply touching. Overall, a lovely, heart-warming story that will leave a mark on the readers mind. 

All for the Blossoms

A beautiful story about family relations, memories, ancestral connections well blended with the modern day perceptions. The descriptions about the Wada was well written and the author made me see it all. I liked the way Em Kay portrayed the relation between Rajji and Dev. Rajji’s excitement to visit her ancestral home to reminisce the events of the past could be felt through the descriptions. The thought of the poem (the opening lines) were beautiful, yet I think it should’ve been –‘Stay strong in heavy showers / Stay grounded through wild winds. I think the line-“Rajji started a monologue” wasn’t necessary. The story ended on a beautiful note but somehow it seemed rushed. I didn’t realise that the story was nearing to an end. Overall, a good plot, sprinkled with heartwarming emotions, and the title was well justified. 

The House

A good concept for a story. The house being the protagonist was interesting. True, that every house has a story to tell and the introduction gradually carried me forward. I’m touched by the narration that made me feel and witness all that happened inside that house. It felt as if the house was literally speaking to me. The personification was executed very carefully considering the details we readers needed to know. Human relations, complication, tyranny of a mother, and how the new generation planned for the reunion.  The emotions of Sundari, and the other characters played their part well. Overall, a wonderful story for “A Fallen Leaf.” 

A Tryst with a Twist

This sounded like a mixture of cult practices, science, the human mind and relationships. I found it highly interesting and engaging. The weird process of placing ones consciousness into another was a fantastic thought. He conscience was alive, so he had to feel unhappy about the loss and change. I liked the thought- “Most of the humans  were born with a mismatched combination.” Guess, this is why, consciously or unconsciously, we keep searching for something throughout our lives. A brilliant take the author Olinda Braganza. A suspense thriller kind of a story that eventually blended to something spiritual yet, in the presence of science. The story suited well to the concept of ‘A Fallen Leaf.’ 

Two Pilgrims

This story reminded me of John Bunyan’s ‘Pilgrim’s Progress.”  The road to heaven isn’t easy and one needs to pay a huge price to attain salvation. Peter’s journey was the toughest but then his humble nature and the journey he took helped him to reach the gates of Heaven. Not only did he have company, he died peacefully too. A wonderful message was shared by the author Rham Dhel. A great lesson for us to learn and realise the truth of life. People rush to shrines and donate money thinking they are pleasing God, while throughout their life, they overlook the gifts of nature and ignore their fellow beings. There are many like Charles who is misguided by the concept and that has been well brought out by the author. Language and narration was simple and gripping. Characterization, vivid details of their journeys and the entire setting of St Pious added a special charm to the story. For a moment, it felt as if I was right there beside the bear, witnessing Peter’s ascend to Heaven. A thought provoking, heart-touching, and interesting story that will stay with me for long. 

 

A Fallen Leaf, is a must read if you wish to enjoy a perfect blend of prose and poetry in one book. The stories will poke your brain and stir your soul. If you are yet to read the book, I say, go grab it today. You won’t regret.

 

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