Sunday, May 2, 2010

REVIEW: Curry Is Thicker Than Water

Curry Is Thicker Than Water
Jasmine Anita Yvette D'costa
Bookland Press
Rs 867
pp 130
ISBN: 097837939X

A cobra flies in through an open window. Wives form a pact against their bigamous, abusive husband. A mother and son battle over eagles' eggs. A homeless guest with a secret. An elephant protests on a highway. A woman marries a pumpkin. Diverse people - one country This is the teeming, hectic world of India. It is also the vivid, startling world that Jasmine D's Costa gives us in Curry is Thicker than Water.

Humour seasoned with a dash of satire DNA
This collection of six short stories is by a Mumbai-born, Canada-based writer, and not one of them has anything to do with the worn-out theme of alienation.

Hallelujah. Why, none of the characters even whip up an improvised bhel puri with Kellogg’s Rice Krispies (yes, Jhumpa Lahiri has scarred me for life). All the stories are set in India instead, and are seasoned with a nice dash of local flavour and loads of satire.

Being anal retentive, I started with the very first story. And honestly, I wanted to stop there itself. ‘The elephant on the highway’ is a crazy caper about a talking elephant that’s sick of begging and decides to protest by lying down slap bang in the middle of Mumbai’s Western Express Highway, making the traffic situation infinitely worse.

A beggar (who earns an astronomical amount a day) befriends him. There are some faintly amusing sketches of chaps from the BMC and animal rights activists wondering how to move it or save it, but this is certainly not the best story in this book and I cannot for the life of me imagine why it took the lead. Oh right, I’ve just got it: it was published in Canada and elephants are exotic there. Tsk.

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