Monday, October 07, 2013

Review- Happy Birthday! by Meghna Pant

Goodreads Summary: 

Happy Birthday! (Random House, India) is a beautifully written, compelling and emotionally intelligent collection of short stories by award-winning novelist Meghna Pant. These finely nuanced stories provide a rare glimpse into the complex and mysterious inner lives of human beings.

Happy Birthday! has also been voted the TOP title on Flipkart’s editors picks for this month:

A dedicated friend undertakes one last labour of love for a childless woman. Nadia - married into money - finds herself facing uncomfortable truths about her comfortably numb marriage. A Mumbai slum-girl dreams of speaking words valuable enough to be translated into English. An American tourist seeking nirvana sets off a sudden chain of events when his bag is stolen, and destiny plays her hand. A retired civil servant of modest means struggles to support his snooty foreign-returned daughter.

Meghna Pant’s knife - sharp stories are compelling, emotionally intelligent and provide a rare glimpse into the strange workings of the human heart. They evade neat categorization and
are the perfect read for all curious spirits.


*NOTE: We (The Readdicts) received a copy of Happy Birthday! by Meghna Pant from the author herself in exchange for an honest review. We thank Meghna for the book!  

It is not everyday that you get an email from an author personally inviting you to their Book Launch Event. Janhvi and I were elated to receive an email from author Meghna Pant to join her in launching her latest book, Happy Birthday! in our city. Not one to miss any bookish event, we went there and it was really nice to meet Meghna not just that one time but a couple of times later as well. 
I was happy when the author gave us a copy of her book in exchange for a review and I am even happier now that I have read the book.I always worry about reading a book after meeting the author thinking that I'll be partial to it. Turns out, I had nothing to worry about. Happy Birthday! in itself was amazing.
Happy Birthday! is a collection of thirteen absolutely enthralling and real short stories. These are stories about people who exist amongst us but we prefer to pretend like they don't exist. These are stories about feelings all of us experience but we are too scared to express. They are essentially raw, concrete, genuine and actual. They are so emotionally powerful that I found myself closing the book after every story and actually feeling nothing and everything all at once. And that, for me, is the best connect and feeling a book can give the reader. The only part better than this was the apt and intelligent title given to each story and how each balloon on the cover has some significance to it. 
Predominantly set in Mumbai, in thirteen stories, we move from the slums to the Parsi colony to the prostitute lanes to the posh societies of the fascinating city. Unlike most of India, I am not at all a regular Mumbai visitor but I believe I know the city enough to picturize everything and for those things that I didn't know, I was both horrified and glad to learn. I must admit that I didn't quite get every little detail but I loved reading it anyways. 
Author Meghna Pant's writing is simply amazing. I loved it so much. Her words have a beautiful flow to it, like a pretty flowing river. After having read many short stories, I feel that they end in a way that doesn't satisfy the reader but Meghna's stories- although they don't end concretely- ended in way that had me feeling content.
Happy Birthday! was exactly the kind of book I like with exactly the kind of stories that I devour. It is an amazing read that is full of emotions, feelings, grit, reality and beauty. This is easily one of the most memorable Indian reads I have read till date. This book is good and right in every possible way. 



  1. It's not cool. I want to attend a bookish event. *sobs* You still have that basme...oops room for me???
    This sounds like a great read. For me it'd be interesting to discover all those places and characters. I'm not a fan of short stories though. Great review Sarika :))

    1. I hope you get to go to some soon, Tanja and this book was amazing. Thank you! :)

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  3. I too liked it.. It was really good.. Though it was emotionally draining, I am glad I had read it. If in case you get to meet the author do tell here is another admirer of her works :)


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