Preeti Shenoy, considered to be India’s top selling female authors, is out with her latest “A Hundred Little Flames”. I have read a couple of her earlier books and have had a love-hate relationship with her. Much as I found her story line to be decent and sort of heart warming, the narration often left me feeling disappointed. Yet, I still end up picking up her books. And her latest book actually took me by surprise. It was a totally new avtaar of Preeti’s writing.
A Hundred Little Flames is a simple story of intense relationships, delivered with an elegant narration.
‘Once a flame is lit, it can burn brightly and divide into a hundred little flames—or it can die down. Just like the connections we form.’
Ayan- at 26 years of age is your usual youngster. Working for a corporate, fighting to strike those deals and big bucks, he is the one with starry eyes and great dreams for the future. It all is cut short when an incident sees him being fired from his job. In this situation, he is forced by his domineering father, to spend time with his grumpy old grandfather Gopal Shankar, in an obscure little village in Kerala. This wasn’t what Ayan really wanted to do, spending time in an idyllic village, sans basic entertainment and internet connectivity. To make matters worse, his father insists on him taking up a job on the dock floor of his friend’s company that deals with the export of sea food much to Ayan’s dislike. But, Ayan soon finds himself, drawn to his grandfather and his simplicity. There is a past his grandfather has. As Ayan learns of this, he comes in terms with the realities of life, and understands what true love actually is. Preeti Shenoy gives a beautiful account of relationships— across generations, of parents and children, of grandchildren, and of one’s true first love.
I loved the book cover, which communicates in its own sweet way, the story the book holds within it. Characters from our daily lives, with a display of happiness, sadness, loneliness, and anger, are fairly sketched well. Velu the care taker of Gopal Shankar, whose unconditional love and duty can never be questioned. And there is Jairaj, Gopal Shankar’s domineering son, who seldom appreciates or empathizes with the emotions of the old man. The story blends contrasting characters with ease. However, I felt the impact of the story would have been far better if, especially in the latter half, it would have been crisper with shorter chapters. It did get a bit predictable too.
A hundred little flames is not your typical Preeti Shenoy romance. It is a story of a relationship between a grandfather and grandson. Calm and soothing, perfect for a lazy Saturday afternoon. Worth a one-time read.