Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Black, Grey and White by Santosh Avvannavar, Santosh Biradar : A Review

BOOK TITLE: Black, Grey and White
AUTHORS: Santosh Avvannavar, Santosh Biradar
ISBN: 9789383701117
FORMAT: Ebook and Paperback
          This book gifts its readers five fantastic short stories that has a common aim-to spread awareness about AIDS. It is an opportunity for people to unite in the fight against AIDS and show their solidarity for HIV positive people. The book is an eye opener for anyone who wish to see the wave of positive change in society. Everyone including the brave hearts Savita, Chintu, Mithali has the right to live with their head held high without fear of social ostracization. Life does not have to be like this. The time is ripe to act now with ones sense and sensibility. Break the myths. Come, be the change!
          ‘Black, Grey, White’
          The title, the first thing you notice about the book, is in itself a brooding, meaningful word play, (if you want to take it that way). Not everything in life is either black or white. Unfortunately, a majority of thoughts, actions, characters, behaviours of human beings centre on the ‘Grey’ area – a mixture of this black and white, sometimes good, sometimes bad, a tad too selfish, a tad too greedy, lusty – the list is endless.
          From the opening line of the note, ‘Life would have been beautiful if there weren’t problems’ – this is not a quote, but a sore wish everyone has thought of at some point in their lives – the book attracts you on some primal level. If the disclaimer hadn’t convinced me otherwise, I would have had many reasons to believe that all the stories here were based on real, human characters.
          Story one is in the drama format. It is a dialog prose that shows in very few scenes the reaction of men towards that one precious entity, life. How do they react to save their lives? This one has some pretty memorable scene settings and one line in particular stood out. ‘Dear diary, a myth is like a religion, and it’s addictive’. Whether or not this line is part of the story, I will let you decide!
          The second story is short, way too short. In the words of the author himself, when two people join to make a mistake, and the third one makes amends – twisted to the core. Is this a Rom-Com? A bittersweet tale of harsh realities? Yes, it happens to be so. One line that stood out, again, is ‘Changing the system for our own need is difficult, but adapting to an existing system is appropriate’. Not a ‘quotable quote’, but surely a ‘relatable quote’.
          By the time we reach the third story, we know what to expect from this book. This one is a very touching story about a very much alive social cause. Just how many people dare to talk about this taboo topic? It is not easy. Even if people who once did a mistake try to make amends and come out, they are still drawn into the quagmire. The ignorant social stigma still ostracizes them.
          Story four makes you turn your head sideways to check if someone else is peeping in (obviously if you read this book in a very public place – like the reviewer here did). The title is simply that explosive. This is again a dialog prose that contains bits of the story in explanatory paragraphs and the rest as conversation and dialogs. This is a unique attempt but a much needed eye opener. One ‘relatable quote’ here : ‘One can think of sacrificing their life by helping others but not take away someone’s life by discriminating’
          There is a very small defining line between innocence and ignorance. Most people do not consciously make an effort to come out of the ignorance that is blissful.
          The last, longest story in this book, divided into parts / chapters is about the prodigal son. With lots of bible references, though initially Greek and Latin if you don’t understand the stuff, this is one enjoyable read. This is, in the author’s own words, a ‘found and lost’ story. (yes, you read that right. It is not the other way round) of loneliness (a very adolescent trait) and seeking some comfort.
          The author has explicitly stated that a part of earning through this book will be funded for a girl’s education. His scrawled message on the last page of the book -‘Thank you for joining hands to bring awareness’ was what finally bowled me over. It is very rare for authors to do this, and this was a pleasant surprise.
Adherence to summary – yes, it does, in a quirkier way.
Plot – existent and very relatable.
Language – smooth, without much jargon
Verdict – reading this will change your outlook on a lot of issues.
Santosh Avvannavar:
          Santosh started his career as a consultant and Soft Skills Trainer. After his college education from NITK, Surathkal, he worked as a researcher at University of Eindhoven, University of Twente, and Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore. He was also the Placement President while working at IISC, Bangalore. He has over twenty-five publications of mostly research documents in national and international journals. He has also authored sixteen conference papers and regularly writes articles for a national and worldwide daily paper. He also works as an advisor for different organisations. He also dabbles in fiction writing and is the author of Adhuri Prem Kahaniya; Dear Wife, Your Husband is not a Superhero, Second Heart and Get a Job WITHOUT an Interview; Be A B.A.; Surrogate Author; Title is Untitled. He likes to devote his personal time in writing for a website, namely the Amrita Foundation for HRD ( He has conducted seminars and training sessions for more than 40,000 people in India and abroad over the last seven years.
Santosh I. Biradar:
          Santosh is presently pursuing Bachelor’s in Social Work from J.G.College of Social Work, Bijapur affiliated to Rani Chennamma University. He is also the founder secretary of Chaitanya Organisation, Bijapur. He is also associated with Deshpande Foundation as a lead ambassador. He won ‘Best Reporter’ award in Youth for Development Program’s and ‘Best Education award’ from Deshpande Foundation for providing free computer training to the orphan children. He also volunteered various activities such as Google Inktalks, NSS (A special camp for Leprosy people), life skills for orphan children. He participated and evolved many school development programs for drop out children as well.
Rs 145 for Kindle

Rs 225 for Paperback

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