Friday, March 11, 2016

438: First Impressions: Mrs. Funnybones by Twinkle Khanna

I began the year reading this and I liked it. It was a sweet, light read. I was looking for something to read between Bombay and Pune - something that I could finish in the two-and-half-hour car ride. This book sufficed perfectly.

Here's a little background about the author: She was an actress and is the daughter of considerably renowned thespians in Bollywood, Rajesh Khanna and Dimple Kapadia. She's married to Akshay Kumar, an actor. She was an actress with a rather unremarkable body of work. She gave up acting to take up candle-making and interior-designing and many years later, found her mojo as a columnist. This book is derived from the theme of her columns, i.e. - a famous person's observations as she goes about her mundane life. It's not 'ha-ha' funny but it is witty in places - especially when she talks about her house-help, her mum, and her kids, especially her elder son. I particularly liked a couple of entries.

In one entry, she writes about teen suicide. She's read an article on the subject while sipping her coffee in the balcony. Somewhere she spots her son flying a kite on the beach. She's feeling a little overwhelmed with the world her young son will inhabit in a few years. She just wishes and her son, through kite-flying, remembers the lessons - that if you hold on and not let go, the winds change.

In another chapter, she talks about one trip to Goa she'd taken with a bunch of pals. She'd learned to ride a scooter there, fallen into a ditch, and later pretended not to care in friend of her guy friends. There was youth and insouciance and the thrill of a forever kind of happiness. She captures that mood so well...a single evening of a single trip becomes so memorable that it skirts around all the other important areas of your later life. Twinkle bought a house near the café she'd lounged with her friends. She'd bough her family there numerous times. But she's aware that that time, though shared so often with so many, is now gone.

The other piece I liked very much is the final, concluding chapter. Her son's cooking while she's carping about something or the other. Her son stops her and asks her what she really, really thinks about an issue In response, she broaches the topic of being unsure of whether there's a God or not. Her son is surprised. Later, she's in the midst of a large dinner with her Punjabi family. The house is choc-a-bloc with relatives and friends. She's keenly aware that with her belief system (that she'd shared with her son earlier), she's an outsider in that milieu. But then, the music starts and her sister-in-law drags her to dance. And she dances. Again, keenly aware that despite the beliefs, there are worlds where you can belong.

All in all, a nice book. It's a simple record of a smart woman just trying to figure it all out.

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Note: I'm open to giving away this book. You ought to be in Pune and should be open to collecting it in the Baner, Aundh area.

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