Soul Connection by Saurabh Turakhia is a single author anthology consisting of 30 stories. Though they are all stand-alone stories and can be read in any particular order, as I read each one of them, I detected a common thread running through all of them.
At the centre of most stories are quirky protagonists often with an artistic bent of mind. Their angst seeks an outlet that their art tries hard to provide. Most stories have a positive streak that shines through ending up as winners eventually. They are infused with hope and I am tempted to presume that it’s the writer’s optimism that’s clearly rubbing off on the stories. Often the story ends on a note that though seems impossible but something that the reader would hope for.
Without giving away too much, I’ll briefly tell you about some of the stories to give you an idea of what lies in store. There’s one titled ‘Stolen stories’ where a thief stumbles into an unknown artist’s stories and realises their potential. The stories go on to become popular but karma catches up with the thief.
‘Sketched in your mind’ is the story of an entrepreneur who reinvents himself into a self-taught artist. He wants people to appreciate art and that is what pushes him come out of his comfort zone.
‘Crossword’ is a murder mystery which has a puzzle as a crucial link to the murderer. As it unravels, it highlights the troubles that outsourcing is leaving in its wake. Quite similar to crossword is ‘The lost plot’ which is a revenge story with a twist.
While ‘Always your senior’ centres around the senior citizens who are left to fend for themselves, the story ‘Labour’ highlights the plight of labour who toil but can never enjoy its fruit.
The story ‘Meaning’ is about a writer who loses his all but all isn’t lost yet for him as adversity teaches him. ‘Drama’ is the story of a person whose penchant for looking for drama in the mundane disappears when life doles out drama. He adapts to emerge a winner nonetheless.
‘Tears to Giggles’ has an allegorical narration that tries to convey that comedy is serious business. Then there is ‘One day at a time’ which has a child who follows his heart and walks the road to happiness.
While ‘Reviving strained bonds’ is a story of chalk and cheese siblings trying to connect over a cup of tea and conversations, ‘Simple by choice’ is a story extolling the virtues of simplicity in times of plenty.
‘Game over’ talks about the menace of on-screen games and ‘Storyteller’s Soul’ has artificial intelligence taking over the ancient art of storytelling to give the listeners an immersive experience.
The stories are a pot pourri of various fragrances with some very interesting plot lines. The stories have huge potential in terms of the issues they are raking up. Having read them all, I felt that though the ideas were wonderful, there was a gap in the execution. They leave the reader wanting for more. The stories need to be projected in a more lucid manner, the flow doesn’t feel smooth and there is a dire need for edits.
An overall rating of 3/5 solely because of the varied topics it touches.
P.S.: Of late, I have been reading one too many single author anthologies and my advice is that read them one at a time. Allow each one to settle before you move to the next one.
Reviewed by Dr. Shivani Salil