I received Six degrees: Game of Blogs by various authors as a review copy as a part of the BlogAdda Book Review Programme. The book is a collaborative effort of thirty blogger story tellers across India, who came together to weave these stories. It is a first of its kind effort in the country. This book is a collection of three short stories written by three teams.
As part of their #CelebrateBlogging initiative, BlogAdda.com, ran the first edition of Game of Blogs in September 2014. Five characters and their descriptions were provided. The objective was to write a fictional story revolving around these characters. Bloggers came together as teams and after three rounds filled with its own set of twists and turns, three stories made it to the end.
The three stories in this book are a fascinating example of how one set of characters can have interesting lives with completely different dimensions. Six Degrees is a result of how collaboration can truly breed creativity in the modern day world of connected living.
Nine year old Roohi Dutta is the only child of Tara and Shekhar Dutta. Tara is a media professional and Shekhar is a freelance writer and a stay at home dad. Jennifer, is a photographer and Cyrus Daruwala, a law student from Delhi who comes to Mumbai. Aryan Ahuja is their neighbor.
In the story, The Awakening by The Team By Lines, Shekhar pens his story secretively on his typewriter and keeps it in his safe only to realize the next day that the safe is empty and his manuscript has been burnt to ashes and this happens again. Tara receives a call from an old friend asking them to accommodate Cyrus in their guest room till he finds a suitable accommodation. Jennifer is Shekhar’s childhood friend and both of them share their common craze in aliens. Cyrus blogs about extraterrestrials and Aryan Ahuja, an exobiologist, follows his blog. Then there is someone in their garden trying to accomplish his mission without delay. What is the mission and who is destroying the manuscripts? The authors have woven the story around Gray Aliens, Peacekeepers and Kundalini meditation. The sci-fi knowledge and the details seem well researched but I, for one, am scared of ETs and aliens, so I am not going to check. The characters and descriptions are very detailed.
In the second story, Entangled Lives, by Team Potliwale Baba, Shekhar and Tara are constantly fighting which is affecting Roohi and Shekhar is still looking for a good break. Tara tells Shekhar to write about his teenage years and Shekhar is not ready to do so. Meanwhile, Cyrus is in Mumbai with an agenda and Jennifer is looking for a job. One day, Cyrus takes an injured takes Roohi to the Dutta residence and Tara comes home hearing the news followed by Jennifer. Then there is a power failure followed by a scream and they reach Roohi’s room to find her standing in a pool of blood and their maid, Naina, dead. Inspector Java is incharge of the case and Aryan Ahuja, their next door neighbour says that he may have seen it. Who dunnit?? The descriptions are excellent, it was very easy for me to picturise the scenes. I loved the way the way the authors have presented the murder mystery, everytime I thought that the case has been solved, the story would take a twist.
In the story, Missing- A Journey Within by The Team Tete-a-Ten, the story is set in Mumbai. Shekhar goes to school one day to pick up Roohi, two hours after the school gets over and realizes that Roohi is missing. He calls Tara and she posts about missing Roohi on Facebook. Jennifer sees it and realizes that she had taken a photograph of the little girl having an ice-cream with a man. And that man turns out to be Cyrus, who is in Mumbai from Delhi for an important reason- Mission Roohi. Cyrus blogs about movies and Dr Aryan Ahuja follows his blog. How did Roohi meet him and why was she so happy eating the ice-cream with him? More importantly where are they now?? The first chapter of the story is divided into eleven parts giving a brief of what the story is about and this entire scenario is between 1430 hours to 3.45 hours and then the story moves into the preceding and succeeding events. The authors have woven the story in such a way that all the characters have a role to play in the story.
Same characters and three different stories. This is how we think, given the same set of people. Each team of bloggers has made an effort to portray the same set of characters in their own story. All the stories are set in Mumbai and Delhi. The language of all the stories is simple and each of them has worked around a unique plot.
I have great appreciation for the jury for selecting the three stories, but I know the other seven would be as good. What is missing in the book is the list which BlogAdda had shared at the beginning of the exercise. If that would have been given at the beginning of the book, it would have made reading the book more interesting. And also, as the three stories have the same characters, in between, I would get confused while moving from one story to the next.