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No Onions No Garlic Amandeep Murugesh Rufus and Sundar are bucks who talk dirty for the same reason that they remove the mufflers from their motorcycle exhausts— it makes them feel like men Like libertines To their hormonal despair when Professor Ram stages his remake of A Midsummer Night's Dream at their college fest he casts these four as fairies The farce that follows gradually takes over the lives of the rest of the characters in this achingly funny novel about the pratfalls that accompany caste pride On and off the campus of Chennai University you will encounter onion and garlic free TamBrahms who rewrite Shakespeare to uphold the Hindu order smug NRIs who call the shots in matrimonials visiting Canadians who are aghast at the plight of Dalits pronounced 'daylights' and at the apex of the whole tumbling structure a bibulous builder who invokes the gods even as he defrauds his clients Tailing the characters around this plot is an unseen but all seeing spectator You may never guess who that is but will laugh all the way to the answer The first 50 pages of this book is hilarious Especially the description of the play and the so called brahmin version of midsummer night's dream will catch you laughing But as the book progresses there is so much of toilet humor that is enough to make you cringe I plodded on and finished the book though but felt disappointed in the end It started so promisingly Frankly I didnt go beyond a few 50 100 pagesI picked up this book presuming the plot or the story is a nice vivid description of the Tambram culture probably in a long lost civilization Unfortunately the author's sattire and cliche can really get irritatingYou can blame it partly on the fact that the Tambrahm image might influence the reading However too many references to toilet habits and personal behaviour can seem to be a highly gross generalization The subtle references to Chennai and the Munniyandi Vilases' might appear amusing but the references are always to the present and hence can definitely be misleading in places where readers want to relate to the readingsNot that the readers head to Munniyandi Vilas but to bring in a bias in terms of a fictional plot is too high a price to pay As much as I dont want to generalize a few things it seems very easy for the NRI Tambrahmsnot all to grab a pen and weave a story of dry humor and sattire and end up showcasing literary skills with a regional flavor rather easily and grab a few brownie points In recent times Chetan Bhagat did the same with a so called reference to 2 states post marrying a Tambrahm which was a big hit amongst the new breed readers and the south indian bashers particularly A few weeks ago Navjot Sidhu did a very gross reference to Chennaites mocking at the speed with which they gobble foodagain an ignorant reference Harsha Bhogle was uick to bring the reference to the anvil and correct Sidhu on the same The fact that the community at times is uiet bolsters the new found attempts at bringing anything and everything that they do under a scanner and make a mockery out of itBack to the review I didnot go beyond 100 pages since I felt there was nothing to keenly look forward to but mere ramblings of a lost plot I checked the online reviews for the book and incidentally noticed a few of the author's friends trying to post their reviews very subtly disappointed yet a mere acuaintance forces them to gently pat the authorA big thumbs down for the same this book made me vow that I will never read Indian authors again I stopped reading for a while after this book You can appreciate this book the best if you were raised in the background that forms the backbone of this novel and is dealt heavy sarcastic blows from start to finish The narrative details left me in splits most of the time and I feel super smug over the fact that my community has a knack at satire and humour that is uite unmatched in the greater picture That said this story does bring out the extreme prejudice that runs through the concept of caste I hold it strongly that the Brahmin perspective of prejudice is only one angle The pendulum swings both ways in a country like mine that has absolutely no dearth for differences no matter how loudly we claim to be stringing all of them together and labelling it with the sophisticated term 'diversity' My one strong rouse about this book is the crapload of toilet humour pun kinda intended and tedious exaggerations that suffocate the truly hilarious parts and test your patience There is an actual instance of someone defecating in the middle of the road If only Ms Natarajan hadn't stretched it too far I did manage to ignore these road bumps and plough through to the end that offers a nice culmination of unfortunate circumstances The one other thing completely unnecessary was the odd butting in of a first person narration The summing up would've sounded eually good with a third person perspective as well Fair job overall

  • Hardcover
  • 326 pages
  • No Onions No Garlic
  • Srividya Natarajan
  • English
  • 01 November 2015
  • 9780143099611

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