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I’m a huge fan of Mrs.Funnybones a.k.a Twinkle Khanna and have been so ever since her Bollywood days. Her foray into writing newspaper columns initially and then her first book, also entitled “Mrs.Funnybones” just increased my respect for her as a celebrity who is not afraid to shoot off her mouth and say the most controversial things with her classic wit, humour and candour.
So when I heard she was penning her second book, I was both excited and cautious at the same time. Excited, because I had pre-ordered it and couldn’t wait to get my hands on it and cautious because she really set the bar so, SO high with her first book that I wondered if this new one would match up!
But worry not. The premise of the two books is as different as chalk and cheese and as coal and sugar. Where Mrs.Funnybones was a slice of her own life explained in rather humorous tones, The Legend of Lakshmi Prasad is a quirky collection of short stories, and total fiction. (Err, maybe 95% so!).
Twinkle Khanna has taken the rather risky route to fictional writing with this absolutely hilarious new book of hers. Four short stories are narrated in style that she has made her own – relating it to everyday social issues in a fabulously humorous background and cheekiness that comes from being an intelligent working women, that she it.
So there we have Lakshmi Prasad, the belle of the village whose life revolves around jardalu mangoes, a love story between 2 white haired septuagenarians with Noni Appa being the “heroine’, a youngish girl Elisa who is still in that age where relationships change with the weather and the character I found to be the most interesting, the sanitary napkin man Bablu, who has been loosely modelled on social entrepreneur Arunachalam Muruganantham.
WHAT I LOVED:
Mrs.Khanna says, and very proudly at that, “there is no ambiguity about me being a feminist,” and it is this very ideology that reflects in all the central characters of the book also. It talks about and brings to the forefront issues that are usually hushed up and not spoke about too loudly in society, from female infanticide to finding love in your twilight years to menstruation in women. And for that, I just love this book!
And this idea gives us Lakshmi Prasad who starts the ritual of planting 10 mango trees every time a girl is born in her village; Noni Appa – a 68 year old widow who falls in love with her somewhat younger but still old enough yoga teacher and takes the plunge to be in a live – in relationship; Elisa, who lives life on her own terms even if it causes her heartache multiple times and the most endearing of them all, Bablu Kewat, who is highly perturbed by his wife’s problems during menstruation and moves hell and high water to start manufacturing sanitary napkins at affordable rates.
WHAT I DIDN’T LOVE SO MUCH
There’s a hint of sadness, that tragic quality in this book, which put me off slightly, only because when I read Mrs.Funnybones, I want to be able to laugh out loud and chuckle for hours at end, and not remember the angst of everyday living.
Elisa has a sad end in the book, and the sanitary man also has to give up the woman he really loves to the pressures of society. But then again, it makes us realize that nothing in perfect and gives us the beauty of multiple layers in the story that are just so intriguing.
ROUNDING IT ALL UP
Just like her first book, this one too is unputdownable. You have to read it till the end in one go! And then read it again and again and again to understand the subtle grace and strength of conviction in all her characters, and the unbridled feminism which they not just proclaim but act out in their real lives. It will resonate with every reader due to the sheer Indianness of the language used, from harami to chakar to figure like a coca cola bottle.
I absolutely loved this one, Mrs.Funnybones! Hurry up and write the next one now, will you? :)