If you listen to the radio very often you may have heard of him or rather may have heard him talking about some imaginary city he calls “Yaad Shaher”. Neelesh Misra often referred as the “Radio story teller” is a award winning journalist and a very popular radio jockey. His famous show titled “Yaadon Ka Idiot Box on 92.7 Big FM is seen as one of the biggest innovation in radio programming in the recent times.
When I received this book and the author profile from the publisher, I was very excited. Firstly because this was probably the first Hindi book I was holding after I passed out of school .. which could easily be a decade back and secondly this author was also a radio jockey ! How cool and refreshing was that? Though I was told that I can review this book later and wait for the English edition which is due sometime this year… and there is also one more edition to this book, I simply couldn’t resist reading this one. And then, before I could even start reviewing the book I felt, as if I have missed out on something really really interesting on radio. I then started finding these “yaad” shows by Neelesh Misra on you tube. Trust me .. I never thought that spoken words can be so soothing and also deserves to be heard on radio. Especially for someone like me , who simply changes the channel whenever there is anything other than music on radio.
This book yaad shahar will remind you of the hindi textbooks from your school. The books which had simple stories, innocent characters and a very emotional and relatable storytelling. You could very easily visualize the entire scene and the characters could very well represent a close friend of yours, a family member, your neighbor, the shopkeeper, the milkman or the tailor in your own neighborhood. Perhaps this has got to do with the language itself which has a sense of belongingness to it that effortlessly presents a reflection of our daily lives and our true nature. And like the author says, “Mere andar mera chota sa shehar rehta hai”, this book will bring a sense of nostalgia, will take you back to your original roots and help you re connect with your inner self. Well…. it did happen to me. In fact it also went to the extent of me reconnecting with my old friends from school as well!
If you like to read collection of short stories (like we have reviewed in the past here), this book is a collection of “very” short stories which are only linked by this imaginary city called “Yaad Shaher”. The city itself becomes a character as you are halfway through the book.
You have stories titled – “Ek naya mehman”, Ladies tailor, Fulo ka guldasta ….etc. Though the titles may sound naive, the stories have relevant message presented in simple and predictable storyline .The language on the other hand is very interesting. It has shayri in it, the dialogues are adorable (almost like a Amol Palekar movie) and thankfully the author takes the liberty of using english dialogues and words without over complicating the hindi language for us which would have definitely restricted the scope of the book.
Though all stories have a logically acceptable ending, only few of them have a interesting or impressionable ending that manages to give you a “wow” feeling after reading. So if you read it with an intellectual mind you may not like it beyond few chapters but it is the overall experience that the book presents is unique in itself and makes “Yaad shaher” worth giving a bedtime reading.
Leaving you with a youtube link from one of the episodes of Yaad Shaher : It is called “ Kissa E Facebook” . A very innocent love story of a guy who had a crush on his beautiful classmate from school . The boy finds her on facebook when she becomes a movie star.