Shades of Love ( Anthology of stories edited by Ankit Mittal)

Reviewed by Nimue, Yatin and UCV

UCV Says - 

The last time I read an anthology was during my BA days, when hours would be spent trying to thrash a Keating or a Chekov into submitting all interpretations of their work in the Lit. class. I think it was the nostalgia that prompted me to accept a review copy of 'Shades of Love', despite my professed fatigue of reading Indian English writing. Also, the endless intrigue of love pushed me further. Thankfully, it wasn't a bad pick.

Edited by Ankit Mittal (who needs to find a better proofreader, considering the number of errors I spotted), 'Shades of Love' is a collection of short love stories by Indian authors, known and unknown. Some names I was familiar with; Sachin Garg, Naman Kapur, Aastha Atray Banan and Rohit Gore among them. The other new names, were as good, if not better, than the published crop. Mittal needs to be credited for making mostly poignant choices, reflecting indeed the many shades of love in this anthology. However, some stories are entirely forgettable.

I shall recall, here, the most unforgettable ones.

'A Pop Tart's Psychotic Love Story' by Aastha Atray Banan with its 'LOOK AT ME!' title, also has the meat to go with it. We have the story of a girl, unable to forget the lover who has ditched her, pushed to the threshold of madness. She will do what it takes to have him back, even if it means to kill him or his present girlfriend. When she finally walks up to the ex's house, all guns blazing, she is met with a rather unexpected turn of events...

'A Hero Greater Than Shahrukh Khan' by Rohit Gore has a cheesy title (Gore has a penchant for those), but is deserving of mention because of its tenderness. Caught in Mumbai's infamous deluge, an underdog becomes his family's hero; winning love at the cost of his life.

'Stolen' by Naman Kapur is a sharp little story about love between two equals - in crime and in bed. A pickpocket zooms into a target, sparks fly, and the one out to steal is stolen from. Fun.

Apart from these, 'The Remedy' by Sachin Garg, and 'She Called It, Kikugasane' by Tushar Rai are also fair reads.

However, Durjoy Datta's 'The English Teacher' is the most remarkable and shocking story of the whole lot, about an obsessive love, and that's all I am going to say about it for fear of ruining it for a reader. If you need a reason to buy this book, buy it for Datta's story. Yes, ignore the horrible paper quality of the book, ignore the lame stories, even ignore the choice of font on the book cover. Read Datta's story and ask Grapevine India to rope him in to write a novel that would stick to a reader's mind forever.

Rating - 2.5/5

Nimue Says -

Short stories never disappoint me *much*. I feel even a  single gem that stays with you forever , makes a book worthy.Shades of Love is of 25 short stories but shades of love are many in each story.The book cover is a real beauty with definitely many shades of red and pink in it ( goes with the book name :D )

There are stories for all age groups ( since love has no age right ! ) , settings and moods.
Love happens all the time. Every one has a love story to share and the ones listed here are some really unique ones. A married man finds love right before he dies , two people find love when they are not even searching for it. A wife tries to understand infidelity , a lady returns beyond death to her love , a girl re thinks her decision to marry on her wedding day. Each plot is different , each mood is different. Every emotion and character living it is different. and yet , you find yourself relating to so many of them even in bits and pieces. some of the stories impressed a lot with unique plot , some with poetic writing and some  for just showing love in impossible shade maybe.I dint like a few stories that sort of sounded predictable to me. Also the writing was bit not as good as some others. But then, that's the beauty of a story collection. 

I am always a biased reader when it comes to story collection. Though I will not point out the ones I didn't like , I damn sure tell you of the ones I liked. The one story that totally caught me into its web of words and images was "She called it,Kikugasane". I have read and retold it to my best friend and  every time I can feel the power and magical feeling of Love surrounding me as I finish this.

As Ankit Mittal says , "There are always stories to tell and interpretations to extract." , This book sure will take you to a journey of exploration of not just the words but feelings in your life.

Having said all this about the stories and the writing , I want to add that the pages of the book I received were a let down. The beautiful cover doesn't open into crisp fresh pages but to dull grey ones. I personally didn't like that though I did enjoy reading the book.

Rating : 4/5

Yatin Speaks -

Shades Of Love dropped in this afternoon. It is a collection of short stories edited by Ankit Mittal and Grapevine Publisher's first anthology. Honestly, I am not a person who likes reading short stories. I have tried reading them a couple of times but by the time my interest starts developing in a story, it ends. But, with Shades Of Love, the case was different. I read each and every story. Though, I skipped 4 stories because I couldn't relate to them.

The title of the book is so apt because the book shows some 25 shades of love through 25 different stories. Every story is unique in its own way. There is infidelity, psycho behaviour, secret love, lust, dark desires, genuine love, lost love and many other shades. Also, I would want to point out the forward of this book written by the editor, Ankit Mittal. It says, "Love is the most complex, perplexing, phenomenon one can ever encounter, spanning the most insipid to dark emotions known to man" and this line comes true through this book.

It would be unfair of me to my favourite story from the whole collection because every story represents a different character of love. I am impressed with the way new budding writers are coming in and Grapevine is giving them platform. Though, honestly, I was a bit disappointed when the book started with a man and woman making out. But, towards the end, the story took such a turn that left me aghast. The list of people whose stories have been published in the book is as follows

All and all, Shades Of Love is a book that you would want to pick up if you want to see the different extremes of the most complex term known to the mankind, LOVE. Try it out. You might like it.

Publisher: Grapevine 
ISBN: 9789381841143 
Pages: 240
Editor: Ankit Mittal


  1. Read both the reviews, liked them both, but am pretty, pretty sure I won't pick it up. mainly because I don't like short stories. I crave for 1000 page novels, the plots within plots, the drama and action of 1-2 characters throughout the book, even better if you can include a dragon :D

  2. hahah ..

    Can I write a dragon related short story for you FL ?
    will you not read the book even then ? ;)

  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

  4. Thanks for your kind words Nimue, in context to "She called it, Kikukasane". It's a good feeling to have your first story strike some kind of a positive chord.

  5. @Tushar : do let me know when you write more :)


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