“Amidst the humour, what really strikes me as extraordinary is how well both Santosh Bakaya and Ramendra Kumar have captured the nuances of the society we are a part of,” says Samrudhi Dash in her review of Blue Pencil’s latest publication Mélange of Mavericks And Mutants.
Mélange of Mavericks and Mutants by Dr. Santosh Bakaya and Ramendra Kumar is definitely a book that is so filled with humour that it’s gonna make you laugh until you feel your teeth are ready to fall out.
Amidst the humour, what really strikes me as extraordinary is how well both Santosh Bakaya and Ramendra Kumar have captured the nuances of the society we are a part of. As the title suggests, they call themselves “abnormal”, but then I would like to go with another favourite author of mine and call them “neo-normal or post -normal”.
To say that Santosh Bakaya does it yet again with her genius creativity and an eye for every speck of detail would be no understatement. Her earlier books no less fascinating, this book, co-authored with Ramendra Kumar is another feather in her hat.
Ramendra Kumar fights his tumor with humour, successfully blasting it away, and on a serious note, it’s no joke, no mean feat. The very first story about his wife Madhavi going saree shopping and engaging in a virtual duel with another obese woman over a saree, finally winning it for herself will definitely make you laugh. And indeed, if I were to critically analyse this story, somewhere deep down it enlightens me about female psychology in general. I couldn’t help but laugh, thinking about myself in a shop, holding on to something that another person has also liked. And I must salute Madhavi for winning the duel, something that I would never have had the courage for. Then the piece about the IRS – “The Indian Riot Service” is another story of wit, humour and satire that subtly exposes our socio-political scenario.
Santosh Bakaya’s humour along with her masterful art of storytelling and an eye for every fine detail, makes the stories not just pieces of wit and humour, but also ones that force you to think about the struggles of the common man and much more. The underlying poignancy in those humour filled writings, is, what I would say, the icing on the cake.
The overcrowded bus-ride sounds like a theatre of the absurd. Yet there is this underlying pathos of the burden of overpopulation that makes people struggle through a bus journey. The unlucky guy at Lucky Hairdressers; the VIP who’s created the traffic jam, for none can ignore the call of nature, while the young lady is stuck in the car, worried about reaching her examination venue on time is a story where, with her fantastic art of storytelling and indefatigable sense of humour, Santosh Bakaya manages to vaporize the boiling tension in the car. Then there’s the story where a rich father treats his way too obese son to burgers, street food, bananas, and yet haggles with the poor rickshaw puller over a few pennies and rants at the banana seller as he is caught trying to slip away without paying for the bananas. This brings out modern human nature, more so of the rich, and their complete callousness towards the poor.
As Ramendra Kumar puts it, “In a world which is completely full of warts, where the absurd is cherished and the incongruous worshipped, there’s no place for satire.”
And yet, they both do it, and do it perfecto – a medley of humour, wit, satire, while exposing the dystopian world and its non-ethics, this book is definitely way more than just humor and wit.
And of course, I must not forget to mention the book cover, which by itself is the catalyst to laughter — the amazing, quirky caricatures of the authors aptly designed by none other than the genius artist Avijit Sarkar. It is not just eye catching but also bone tickling hilarious — the expressions on the faces of the two writers, the puffed out cheeks, with Dr. Santosh Bakaya’s teeth ready to jump out, while Ramendra Kumar’s moustache seems to be quivering with suppressed laughter. Both seem to be sharing some absurdly funny conversation over mugs of coffee, or maybe tea, is definitely something that would be the first thing to catch the reader’s attention. It is said one should never judge a book by its cover, and yet, here you definitely can do that, for the cover justifies the book through and through.
The impeccable editing and formatting done by the team of Blue Pencil publications makes the book a seamless, delightful read.
And last but not the least, the crisp, delightful introduction by none other than another literary genius, Dr. Ampat Koshy gives you the much needed start to delve into the book — the perfect teaser or should I say, the trailer to what’s in store for the reader.
This book is undoubtedly one of its kind and I would love to read it again and again, not just for the sake of laughs, but for much more.
And if I would have rated this book 6 STARS had there been the provision for an extra star.
Mélange of Mavericks And Mutants
Written by: Santosh Bakaya and Ramendra Kumar
Publisher: Blue Pencil
Edition : Kindle ebook
Publication date : July 12, 2022
Language : English
KINDLE EDITION Available in:
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