Slices of life

Essay writing is an art—a creative process that involves research, careful thinking and fine-tuning. But writing an essay for admission to prestigious US universities is more than a creative process. It is, in fact, one of the most anxiety-inducing tasks of the Common Application process for students aspiring to get into renowned colleges.

What exactly constitutes a winning essay? How can students strike a balance between the flow of thought and the writing process without overdoing the ‹trying to impress› part? Indian Roots, Ivy Admits hopes to address these concerns, besides providing an engaging reading experience. Curated by Viral Doshi and Mridula Maluste, two of India’s leading experts in the domain of education, the book is a collection of 85 essays that got Indian students into an Ivy-league college or Stanford. As much as the collection is a lesson in structured writing for students, it is also a soothing read for a general reader who may not be eyeing an admission.

It is a pleasant surprise that these essays stand out for their simplicity and honesty. There are no jargon or complex vocabulary, neither do they throw path-breaking ideologies at you. The students, in fact, bare their souls, with all their vulnerabilities. As a reader, what keeps one hooked to most of these essays is the immense human connection. The students talk about their dreams, strengths, weaknesses, inspiration and process of self-discovery. Be it an essay about an identical twin fighting to establish her own identity, a son living with his terminally ill mother, or a passionate baker’s love for mathematics, the essays are contemplative and reveal the students’ raw human side layer by layer. They leave you contemplating how much people have in common, whether they are from big cities like Dubai, Hong Kong, Delhi and Mumbai or smaller ones like Surat and Dhanbad.

What deserves special mention is the curators’ clarity of thought as they put the book together. The 85 essays have been divided into 10 themes, with each theme being explained in a crisp introductory piece. At the end of each essay is a detailed note by Doshi and Maluste on what they thought about the piece and why it worked.

The collection is a valuable resource for aspiring students to observe writing styles, learn how to choose a topic and express themselves effectively.

Indian Roots, Ivy Admits: 85 Essays That Got Indian Students Into the Ivy League and Stanford

Compiled by Viral Doshi and Mridula Maluste

Published by Amaryllis

Price Rs599; pages 372