“A slow rasping sound made me turn. I jumped back, the cell phone leaving my hands and smashing against the concrete floor. Someone was seated on the chair, rocking back and forth. Through the fallen light, I could see those hands placed on the arms of the chair, two gruesome wrinkled limbs with ugly boils plastered over the black skin. The red bangles on its wrists shone in my eyes, momentarily blinding me. That thing and I call it a thing because I could sense it wasn’t human as no human could have such a hideous form, as vile an existence as the one seated opposite to my horrified self.”
From a honeymoon in the hill that goes horribly wrong to an obsessed lover who wants his first love in life and in death; From a mentally deranged man who collects body parts of various women to stitch together his dream girl to a skeptic who enters a mansion of horrors to win a bet and much more, this book is filled with scenarios that are guaranteed to give you goosebumps and sleepless nights.
‘The Other Side’ is a collection of thirteen tales of the paranormal; a world that our eyes refuse to see, our ears deny hearing and our senses ignore the feel of. This is a book for someone who is brave enough to take up this invitation to journey through uncharted waters along with the authors, who were inspired by some bizarre experiences to pen down this work where the lines of reality have been blurred by the footsteps of imagination.
Each story takes you on a tour de force of unadulterated horror and draws upon the deepest fear in the human mind- the fear of the UNKNOWN!
My thoughts –
Except for a few short stories here and there in my childhood & teen days, I hadn’t ever read any horror stories as such and I was never quite inclined on trying out the genre either. I am of the opinion that horror is best realized visually. But when Readers Cosmos contacted me for a review of the book, I said why not give it a shot?
The Other Side is a collection of short stories with paranormal twists. Now, I love reading short stories, irrespective of the genre, for it does not demand sitting for long hours and it suits me perfectly. In The Other Side, the 2 authors have tried to make us aware of the other side of life – the side, of whose existence, we always like to debate on. On a personal note, I do believe in the existence of the supernatural, presence of evil, etc.
Now, to start with the book experience, the authors have given a great start to the book with a gripping Foreword & bone-chilling, scary Prelude. Mr Faraz, you with your foreword did make me look behind my back! I had started reading the book after my dinner & after reading the Foreword & Prelude I decide to continue the book the next day, in daylight….I didn’t want to wake up to strange sounds & shadows in the dead of the night.:P However, as I read through the stories I found that none of them was very scary or frightening. Having said that I will also mention that they were definitely creepy & made me look behind my back or get startled by a sound in the kitchen, in fear, many a times. I felt that many of the stories were similar to the supernatural incidents I have heard from people around me or shown in horror TV shows & movies. Excluding the Foreword, Prelude & Epilogue, the book has 13 short stories – a combination of good & evil spirits.
The 1st story, THAT FATEFUL NIGHT, talks about a couple who goes out for dinner, late night, on their wedding anniversary. In certain turn of events they land up at a haunted haveli in the middle of the night in a bid to help an old man. The plot was familiar but it did not fail to scare me.
The next one is THE LONG WEEKEND. It is the story about a married couple who goes off for a short vacation to relive their happier & carefree days at a hill station and land up at a deserted guesthouse. No, it’s not a haunted house story. The author manages to thrill the reader with the twist at the end. I enjoyed this one.
THE MAN WHO DID NOT FEAR is the 3rd story. Nirbhay Kumar in a bid to win a bet with his friends agrees to spend a night in ‘moonlight haunted mansion’. The chain of events during the night ends on a sad note.
Next comes the STRANGERS IN THE NIGHT. It is about a rich guy in a swanky car offering lift to a girl in front of the gates of a cemetery. The story seemed to be familiar but it surprised me with the ending.
THE MUSE COMES CALLING is the next story. It is about Abhijit Mukherjee, a famous author, whose characters comes to life one day. I did not enjoy this one very much.
THE LADY IN THE PUB is one of the stories I liked. It is about Salim who meets Aarusha in a pub & whom he later drops home. The next morning he comes to know that he was never in the pub and in an attempt to justify his sanity he goes in search of the mysterious girl he found in the pub. But what he discovers is not what the reader expects!
A MOTHER’S LOVE was not scary. This is a story about a Tamilian Brahmin housewife who was having difficulties in having a child. When her husband and she moves to Munnar to an old bungalow in midst of tea gardens, she encounters the ghost of an English child there. I did not quite enjoy this one.
RED BANGLES is the story of Vinay, a hurt lover who is also somewhat mentally disturbed. He is obsessed with a girl since his school days & on her wedding day he kidnaps her to make her his, forever. A scary one this was!
THE MARK OF THE BEAST is one of the ones I liked a lot. It is the story of a newly married couple who go on a trek in some interior area which is rumoured to be haunted by a half bear-half man. I enjoyed the climax of the story about the curse & the couple.
THE MYSTERY LAKE is another of my favourites. It is the story about a boy who is haunted by dreams of a mystery lake, the answers to which lie in his past life. I loved the concept of using karma & past life connection to establish the story.
POSSESSION was more like a Bollywood movie. It is the familiar story of a little girl getting possessed by an evil spirit when her family shifts to a house in the hills. It did manage to scare me at some points.
The story in UNFULFILLED DESIRES is about a doctor who is transferred to Jhinjhana, a rural area to handle a public health centre. The villagers believed that the health centre is haunted by the ghost of a girl who committed suicide in the well inside the campus. It was kind of long for me & ended as expected. Not much scary for me.
DREAM GIRL is not a scary story; it is a creepy & gothic one. It is about a serial killer who kills women whose various body-parts attract him. He then chops off each part with a chainsaw & sews them together to ‘construct’ his dream girl. I didn’t quite like it much, too gruesome for me; but this one definitely has instilled a fear in me in walking on lonely roads – in broad daylight too.
The Epilogue was a good way to end the book. The amount of spookiness was perfect & a haunted fort on a moonlit night was described quite aptly.
The stories, as a whole, were good – nothing new, but the narration & the presentation is what makes the book worth a read. Also, I have to mention that, in some stories the authors did infuse fresh ideas & plots & have successfully managed to erect the hairs at the back of my neck in some scenes. One more thing in the book that caught my attention was the quotes used at the beginning of each story- I liked it. Also, the illustrations included in the book were very poor, & could have been done without with.
So people, if you want to get scared with different kinds of spirits, go ahead and grab a copy soon! 🙂
Enjoy the book video here:
“This book review is a part of The Readers Cosmos Book Review Program. To get free books log on to thereaderscosmos.blogspot.com“