'25 Strokes of Kindness' by Various

About the Book:

Title: 25 Strokes of Kindness
Author: Various Authors. (Anthology)
Compiler / Editor: Nikita Singh and Orvana Ghai
ISBN: 9789381841341
Publisher: Grapevine India Publishers
Language: English
No. of pages: 248
Year of Publication: 2013
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25 Strokes Of Kindness, available in paperback, is a book with a collection of 25 hand-picked stories. These stories are taken from different events that were experienced by different people. Every story shows various acts of kind behaviour, which the author felt was worth mentioning and sharing with others.

The 25 Strokes Of Kindness include stories like Ouroboros, A Pack Of Parle-G, Is It Kinder To Give Or Receive, Please Hug Me, A Ten Dollar Wedding, Fifteen Minutes, Pentimento, Crossroads, Saving Of Life And Love, A Piece Of Contagious Kindness, Court Sentence, Letters To Karka, The Lost Girl, The Photograph, The Helping Hand, The Last One, The Collateral Emotion, Colours Of Gratitude, Lessons Of A Father To His Daughter, A Rare Sight, Reality Check, Love Thy Neighbour, Six Rupees, Santa For Christmas, and An Act Of Kindness.

About Nikita Singh

Nikita is the bestselling author of six novels, including If It's Not Forever, The Promise and Someone Like You. She has also contributed in the books of The Backbenchers series. She was born in Patna and grew up in Indore, from where she graduated in Pharmacy and presently works as an Editor at a leading publishing house. With a library stocked with over twelve thousand books, she is a voracious reader and adores her collection of fantasy novels. She is a cricket enthusiast and for some reason, can't seem to get over her fixation with cardiovascular workout.

About Orvana Ghai

Orvana is an author and an activist. She has previously co-authored You Were My Crush with Durjoy Datta. She completed her studies from Jesus and Mary College and University of Westminster and keeps switching bases between New Delhi and London. Apart from writing she also appears in TV commercials and movies.

List of stories and author links:

  • Ouroboros by Nanya Srivastava
  • Is It Kinder to Give or Receive? by Asfiya Rahman
  • A Pack of Parle-G by Himanshu Chhabra
  • A Ten Dollar Wedding by Arashitaa Sehrawat
  • Please Hug Me by Preeti Shenoy
  • Pentimento by  Rafaa Dalvi
  • Fifteen Minutes by Nikita Singh
  • Savings of Life and Love by Parul Tyagi
  • Crossroads by Renuka Vishwanathan
  • Court Sentence by Naman Kapur
  • A Piece of Contagious Kindness by Sakshi Budhia
  • The Lost Girl by Arusi Pathak - continued here
  • Letters to Karka by Pernasi Malhotra
  • The Helping Hand by Ruchika Thukral
  • The Photograph by Nikhil Khasnabish
  • The Collateral Emotion by Shomprakash Sinha Roy
  • The Last One by Ishita Das
  • Lessons of a Father to his Daughter by Paromita Bardoloi and Ricardo Vaz
  • Colours of Gratitude by Kalyani Manojna
  • Reality Check by Anjali Kirpalani
  • A Rare Sight by Namrata
  • Six Rupees by Husna Advani
  • Love Thy Neighbour by Prity S - continued here
  • An Act of Kindness by Sachin Garg - continued here
  • Santa for Christmas by Drishti Dasgupta

My views: 

In General

The cover of this book designed by Saurav Das and looks decent enough but nothing that relates to what the book is about. Something that depicts kindness could have been better I think. I admit that the cover does has the capacity to attract readers to pick up the book at bookstores. Apart from the cover design, there is something else as well that just makes sure of it. The names of the authors mentioned on the cover. Who would not like to read a book that has stories by likes of Preeti Shenoy, Nikita Singh, Sachin Garg, Shomprakash Sinha Roy and Anjali Kirpalani?

Since I am a writer myself I am also aware of the fact that when contests are held for anthologies it is clearly mentioned in submission guidelines that the work which has been already published should not be contributed and I am sure the same must have been the case for this anthology as well, then how does this anthology lists a short story which has been previously published in one of the 'authors' anthology?

Maybe because the expectation levels are already raised, the readers might not be really able to enjoy the contributions by other writers. At least, I could not. What I firmly believe is that the reader should (be allowed) to read contributions by debut writers with an open mind, without having any expectations.

Some stories are good, some seem close to real life, a few are exceptional and some too good to be true and some not so good. Each and every story though has a chance to be written in a better way..

About Each Story:

  • Ouroboros by Nanya Srivastava: The story is well-written and one of my favorites in this anthology. The story begins with two friends sitting around a bonfire camping in the lawns of a large bungalow. The conversation between two men is casual and the bond between them is nicely written. The introduction of a slightly mysterious character is well-handled. Loved the end.
  • Is It Kinder to Give or Receive? by Asfiya Rahman: The title does justice to the story. I have always believed in anonymous donations and this story touched a chord in my heart. The story is about Saifi, a kid who, as per his Dadi's teachings wants to give a part of his 'eidi' as donation. The story is well-written, it is simple and believable.
  • A Pack of Parle-G by Himanshu Chhabra: I believe that children often teach us adults very valuable lessons and this is well portrayed in this short story. The act of kindness of Sarthak, his innocence being doubted by his father has been written beautifully. A simple and easy read.
  • A Ten Dollar Wedding by Arashitaa Sehrawat: A story with a message - give and you will receive more in return. Story well-written but sadly not all that original I would say.
  • Please Hug Me by Preeti Shenoy: I remember reading this short story in the author's anthology titled 34 Bubblegums and Candies. Written as account of Author's visit to NGO that offers residential care and rehabilitation to HIV/AIDS affected children and women. To me it is more like a journal entry rather than a short story, well-written though.
  • Pentimento by  Rafaa Dalvi: A short story of James Bale who is a loner and composes songs and how he comes across Zoe who reminds him of his past and the pain that still haunted him. A well-written story about how this girl Zoe brings back happiness in James' life. Yet another story, which I fear is not completely original.
  • Fifteen Minutes by Nikita Singh: Well-narrated. Story of forty three year old man and a fourteen year old girl who meet in support group session. Story continues in the Oncology ward where the final act of kindness of one person gives another a chance at survival. I did not like the climax though.
  • Savings of Life and Love by Parul Tyagi: The circumstances of India-Pakistan partition and a wonderfully woven story of Love and Sacrifice. 
  • Crossroads by Renuka Vishwanathan: A simple story of a man desperate to reach office on time been thrown at a crossroad to make a decision of either reaching office on time or spending time with a woman he accidentally meets at a road-crossing. A story that tells us that it is a small world indeed. 
  • Court Sentence by Naman Kapur: A simple take on anger-management and doing a good deed and law of attraction. Could have been written in a better manner
  • A Piece of Contagious Kindness by Sakshi Budhia: Story of a ten year old girl living in slum area who does a good deed and inspires someone else to do one, too. Yet another simple story but well written. Liked the narration. Use of Hindi words do not seem out of place. 
  • The Lost Girl by Arusi Pathak: "In the end, winds will go silent, storms will hush, the clouds will part and the rain will cease to pour...." beautiful lines from the story. It is well-written. The author has taken the effort to maintain a timeline - present to past-into deeper past- and then back to the present. A connection between two strangers well expressed. The act of kindness at the end of the story disappointed me, though.
  • Letters to Karka by Pernasi Malhotra: Story of two  women brought together by fate. The act of kindness too good to be true. Of course, it is a fiction, so it is acceptable. Good narration. 
  • The Helping Hand by Ruchika Thukral: Beautifully written, however, the story has a different touch to it than what it is supposed to be about. The act of kindness is not justified. Nevertheless, it was a wonderful read. The court argument written nicely.
  • The Photograph by Nikhil Khasnabish: Not doing something which is unethical, even if it means losing a job is considered as Act of Kindness is this story. The first half of the story did not make much sense to me. Decent work.
  • The Collateral Emotion by Shomprakash Sinha Roy: Story written in first person and like diary entries of a guy. Could not really understand what is the act of kindness in this story.The writing style of the author is good. Emotions brought out well.
  • The Last One by Ishita Das: Beautifully written. My favorite. I am sure this story could have been written in a much better manner if there had not been any limitations of words.The story of  girl who decides to do one last act of kindness that makes a huge difference in her life and that difference happens to be someone else's act of kindness in her life. This one is much higher on emotions than the previous one. 
  • Lessons of a Father to his Daughter by Paromita Bardoloi and Ricardo Vaz: A simple tale of a father who teaches his daughter to be good to others and not judge someone depending on how others judge that person. I could never understand how could two authors work on the same story. It always shows - the difference in writing style. This one is an exception.  
  • Colours of Gratitude by Kalyani Manojna: A touching story, not only of an act of kindness but of innocence too. Children often teach adults lessons we tend to forget as we grow up and become too occupied with the realities of life. Loved this one.
  • Reality Check by Anjali Kirpalani: Story of a girl who wants to do something in life and ends up doing something else because that's how it is meant to be. An act of kindness by someone helps her achieve what she wants in life. A story well-narrated.
  • A Rare Sight by Namrata: A touching story of a little girl who wants to see the world. Emotions of the father who wants the best for his daughter well-described. Yet another story which is very high on emotions. The act of kindness is realistic and is something we should really encourage.
  • Six Rupees by Husna Advani: The story did not make much sense to me. A man who wants justice for his father's death by punishing the killer, already assuming that a particular person is the one, somehow that person is supposed to have done an act of kindness. More thought should have been given to this story.
  • Love Thy Neighbour by Prity S: Sometimes we think we are helping someone when in fact it is the other person who is the one who helps us in our life. A story which tells us the same thing, the title did not make sense to me though and the way the event is brought about did not convince me and I disliked a specific statement in the story.
  • An Act of Kindness by Sachin Garg: I liked the way story started, that increased my expectations and hence the end was disappointing. The act of kindness did not make much sense, at least to me. The story deals with a guy who does not know how to make friends and cannot talk to a girl for more than 30 seconds. 
  • Santa for Christmas by Drishti Dasgupta: A wonderful story to end the book with.. A powerful message in the story. Sometimes, it all depends on the choices we make, and the selfless ones are the best rewarded. If I wish to do an act of kindness for someone, it would be this.
Overall, a decent reading, weak in some parts in department of editing. A book that can be carried around for casual reading. Do remember to read the stories with an open mind. The writers have the potential to do better.

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