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Title: Love, Peace and Happiness: What more can you want?

Author: Rituraj Verma

Genre: Fiction

Publisher: Leadstart India Pvt. Ltd

Publication Date: February 2012

Source: Author

Paperback: 223 Pages

Goodreads Says:

Stories surround us. Stories about people like us who make difficult and often complex choices that sometimes astound us. You must have come across some people in your own life who closely resemble the characters in these stories. Maybe you have gone through trying moments in your life too. For instance, have you ever been bugged enough with your partner to want to leave? Have you ever had to choose between love and money? Have you ever had to compete with your partner? Have you ever felt that your family weighs you down when it comes to choosing your partner? At times like these, havent you wished that things happened differently and that you could change how they ended? Now you will control how the stories in this book end.

Each story centres on the life of an urban middle class character caught in a set of circumstances beyond his or her control. A Hindu girl living in with a Muslim boy is suddenly in the glare of global media in a reality TV show, a divorced cynical man faces the prospect of committing himself to a prostitute, a highly talented small town girl must choose between life and death. All must resolve the conflicts within their beliefs. Read the way the stories end in the book, but if you dont agree with the ending, visit the website riturajverma.com for alternate endings. If you dont like the way the stories end there either, write your own, and if your ending is selected, see it in print in the next print run with your name in the acknowledgements. Hoping to change the world, one story at a time

Review

The book is collection of 9 stories and as the title suggests the characters in the story are in search of Love,Peace and Happiness. It explores the relationships in urban India, their search and life in general.

I have a love-hate relationship with this book and characters. At times the characters are snob, unsympathetic and selfish and at the same time some are pitiful and idiotic. But that’s because the stories are brutally practical and real. And there is no denying to that fact. Sex-No Sex,Love-No love, Happiness-No Happiness  is what all Indian relationships go through and the author just tries to bring this to world in written where one of the partners tries to break free to give a meaning to his/her life. It could be very challenging to accept the written form considering these attributes are still a social stigma in our country.

Soul mates is another interesting aspect captured by author. The Indian society still  is torn between love and arrange marriages and the concept of soul mate makes such a good debate topic

The last story in the book made the most sense to me as it is culmination of all the stories. How each story is interlinked and connected.

I am not really excited about the alternate endings concept. First, I think it will distort the stories and specially the last story. Second, I did not have patience to check the alternate endings. Best would be to have them in the book in next publishing. But I would really recommend linked alternate endings to the stories instead of a choice to pick and read any alternate ending.

I think the book is worth giving a try and gulping and understanding the practicality of modern India would be an eye opener. It is an ideal book club choice where you will have lots to ponder and talk about and understand where our modern society is leading towards.

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