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Escape Velocity

Escape Velocity is an anthology of thirteen diverse contemporary short stories from India, woven around the extraordinary tales found in ordinary lives. Readers will resonate with these stories of life's many paradoxes that sometimes find happy resolutions, and sometimes can't be gotten rid of. There are stories of childhood, and lost innocence, of happy memories and dark secrets, of homecoming and alienation, of shrinking of the self and longing for freedom. In this geographically varied collection, settings ranging from a small town in Punjab to the metros of Delhi, Gurugram, and Kolkata. The action ranges across locales as intimate and immediate as the stream of consciousness narration of a character, to the external travails a city dweller couple face in trying to set down roots on the banks of the Brahmaputra. The language used is polished English prose, with rich shades of local intonations, be it the Kumaoni, Assamese, Punjabi or Japanese used by the protagonists in different stories.

With warmth, intimate vulnerability and honesty the authors reveal rich inner lives of their characters - people like you and me - everyman, everywoman, in the fast-changing milieu of past and present day urban India.

In introducing the book with his insightful and heartfelt essay titled The Alien Insiders, acclaimed novelist, academic and literary critic Saikat Majumdar writes: "All great art is an endless tension between the alien and the familiar, a tension impossible to resolve. The ongoing synergy of this struggle creates the entropy for fiction...Here are stories that will draw you into a world you know. And then, when you are not looking, shock you into the spell of the beautiful and the dangerous. For those of you about to dip into them for the first time, I'm jealous of the treat that awaits you."

Escape Velocity has been conceptualized, edited and curated by Kiranjeet Chaturvedi, and features the writing of Anjali Gurmukhani Sharma, Dinakshi Arora, Donna Abraham, Gunjan Pant, Ilakshee Bhuyan Nath, Kasturi Patra, Kavita Bhashyam Jain, Kiranjeet Chaturvedi, Manmeet Narang, Megha Consul, Shweta Markandeya, Ruby Kapoor and Vanessa Ohri.

To quote Saikat Majumdar again, “The stories in this collection are art in the true sense of the term. As you read them, you cannot but feel their deep rootedness in contemporary, quotidian life... To be most richly alive is, in some ways, to forget one is in the midst of life; we do not notice the air we breathe (or notice it only when it is deeply polluted, i.e., below life quality) all of them are real, honest, and telling, because all of them are more life than art."

Or Forever Hold Your Peace

SMRC/27/5’4” girl, MBA/B.Tech, Project Manager, software, seeking suitable boy.

‘Sundays began with mass at 7 in the morning. Mass would get over by 8 am and Dad would spend the next hour and a half reading the newspaper, which included circling suitable advertisements in the Catholic Section of the matrimonials. Once it was 11 am, he would start dialing the numbers of those he had deemed suitable.’

Weddings can be tricky business. They can be fun, emotional, exciting, frustrating, nerve-racking, downright stressful and very unpredictable…a bit like life itself. As a young, independent, well-qualified woman based in Delhi sets off on her own journey towards a happily-ever-after, she discovers that a lot can happen between finding Mr Right and saying ‘I do’.

A collection of humorous and inspiring stories about the wonder years of college.

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