The markets are inundated with self-help books. 100 Desi Stories to Inspire You by Madhur Zakir Hallengua is an addition to the same. The stories are classified under the heads creativity, innovation, teamwork, leadership, love, courage, maturity, confidence and human emotions.
The reasoning behind the acts of the characters in the stories is kept under the wraps and the reader is first asked to guess about the same. Then follows the explanations called answers for their behaviour. The writing is simple without the use of any jargons. The stories are too short often not more than a page or two. They are narrated plainly and are predictable. I liked the stories The Little Pricks of Life and The Adopted Child from the book.
Though the author claims to have written all these stories, the fact remains that we have already heard or read these stories somewhere or the other. So they aren’t original. Again, I feel that books will have to rated considering the audience for whom they are written. If 100 Desi Stories to Inspire You was written for children, I would have still called it a good book. For an adult audience it is preachy and insipid. The stories though loaded with moral lessons are banal.
The book claims to contain inspirational stories. In the story Let Me Die Instead of Him, a grandmother prays to God to take her life instead of her sick grandson’s. When God comes to take her instead of her grandson, she tells God to spare her life and take her sick grandson’s life. Now what kind of inspiration does this story provide?
Writing self-help or inspirational book is not an easy task. As I always say self-help books work for two reasons. One they promise magical results. Two they establish strong emotional connect with the readers. They should strike a chord with the reader and preach without a preachy tone. 100 Desi Stories to Inspire You fails this test. Still it may be an ideal gift for a school going kid, but not for adults for sure.