Tag Archives: Humor

Interview with Parimal Kalikar

After having read “A Godly Blunder“, I couldn’t resist shooting a few questions to the debutant author- Parimal Kalikar. Here’s it all !

 

From Hotel Management to a Master’s in Human Resource Management; from earning the first buck as a bell boy to selling credit cards- let’s hear about it all from the beginning in your own words.
I joined Hotel Management with a dream of a suave lifestyle and good money but that dream was shattered with my first training at a five star resort in Goa. I ended up pulling luggage for wealthy guests (Yes you call them guests and not clients in the hotel management lingo). Lost my interest in the line as I did not want to spend years becoming a manager and that’s why I pursued a career in business management. I bagged a job even before I got out of college and I was happy. My hunger for growth and money brought me to Mumbai and I danced. I danced to the tunes of the fast local train schedule, to the tunes of my pushing boss and to the very demanding tunes of the elite clientele. The money was good but I was not happy so I decided to do something that will for a change make me happy.

 

 

What got you attracted towards writing? What prompted you to debut with a full length novel?
I left my job and started planning my own business but with the limited capital it was not easy. In the meanwhile I started writing a story that will talk about the way we approach our problems. Slowly and steadily it started taking shape and when the story was about 15000 words strong I could see the potential and I started putting a serious effort and within the next 2 months I was done with my first novel.

 

 

You know, the most difficult thing is to make people smile, let alone laugh. But your book delivers entertainment to the tee. How did you come up with the idea, the plot and the title?
The problem with us Indians is we get used to the problem very easily. If there is a pothole in the streets we very easily learn avoiding it rather than getting it fixed. We would rather lead unhappy lives and avoid confrontations that may lead to a solution. I don’t subscribe to this cowardly way of living. I started writing about the way a strong headed man from a developed country would approach similar problems and the idea itself seemed entertaining to me. For the plot I took problems from everyday life, some of them even faced by my family. The title was suggested to me by the publisher and I liked it.

 

 

When people write / publish for the first time, it is usually about incidents that they’ve experienced or have been related to closely. How easy / difficult was writing this humorous fictional tale? (I’m sure you did not have to experience “life-up-there” or a close encounter with God to write this.)
Imagining things and day dreaming is something I am very good at so the idea of creating a life up there was not that difficult. Creating a contemporary god was difficult and with a science fiction theme in     my mind I somehow convinced myself of the idea of a young, well dressed god. Conversations with god were the most difficult and with several attempts and guidance from my dear friend Abhishek I could bring out the aura of calmness in his conversations.

 

 

What was the first reaction from friends and family when you smiled and told them you were going to write a novel?
I did not tell anyone except my family that I was writing until I signed the contract with the publisher. Even my family was under the impression that I am writing to spend my free time and when the book was accepted for publishing, everyone was shocked.

 

 

An unforgettable experience that you’d like to share that happened before/during/after the writing process?
When I told everyone that a major publishing house has accepted my book for publishing the first question almost all of my relatives asked, ‘Is it in Marathi?’ As I had most of my education in Marathi medium no one expected me to write in English and it was a happy surprise for all of them.

 

How easy/difficult was it to get yourself published? A budding author like you, we’d like to know your opinion on the overall scenario of the publishing industry.
It was not easy to find a publisher for a novel without a love story or without a love angle what so ever. I was used to the standard reply, ‘Sorry we are unable to accept your work as it does not suit our publishing profile…’ and I had lost hopes when Rupa and co. gave me a chance. I think the overall opinion about Indian authors is changing and the place is getting better and better.

 

 

Name some of your favorite all time authors/ books
I love the works of Jim Corbett and Kenneth Anderson. I love Sherlock Holmes and Satyajit Ray’s Feluda. A couple of my favorite books include Hussain Zaidi’s Black Friday and Geoffrey Archer’s Not a Penny More Not a Penny Less.

 

 

Have you explored social media platforms to market your book? What’s your take on the growing popularity of social media networking sites?
Yes I have used social media to market my book and I must admit it is the most effective way of getting news around. I think social media websites have become an important part of everyone’s life as they give us a chance to connect with friends quickly and new people easily.

 

 

What next are you working on? And how soon do I get to read it??
I am working on a history based modern thriller and I hope I will finish it in a couple of months so it will be out by the year end I hope.

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Book Review of “The Mine” by Arnab Ray

The Mine scores as a riveting thriller that will linger in your mind for days, after you finish reading the book.
The plot revolves around five experts who are brought to a hi-tech mining facility sensing strange, unexplainable occurrences. What connects them all is their murky past and a hideous truth that has been long under the wraps. And so begins their perilous journey of confronting their fate and facing their destined end.
This fast-paced, dark psychological thriller is divided in to three sections: The Beginning, The Middle and The End; though the prologue sets the stage for the deep rooted mysteries and fears that surface on each page.
You will find references of real life incidents that made news around the country; the crux of it all is a reflection of our own fears.
The interlinked stories that make up the novel have an overpowering sinister effect. Various characters, various settings and the sly intervening of links that leave room for mixed interpretation and open ended questions, will make you retrace your thoughts and flip back a few pages to gasp in awe and wonder, as the author skillfully spins the web of mystery and thrill.
Given our experience with Hollywood/Bollywood flicks, you will end up visualizing the scenes as you read the story. Karma has its own way of getting back. And you might recollect “Death’s List” from the “Final Destination” series. (And many such references will emerge in your mind if you are a movie buff/avid reader.)
The narratives (and the scenes) are racy and breathtaking. The narrative is fresh and rather intriguing. Philosophical at places, the book shakes you with the insights. A diligent mix of Science and Karma, the suspense and the thrill in the book will give you goose bumps with every new page. And you will not deny that “the greatest evil lies deep inside.”

 

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Book Review of “A Godly Blunder” by Parimal Kalikar

A lazy weekday evening saw me trying to pick one of the many half-read books piled on my desk. As I wondered about which one to pick and definitely finish it that evening, a new book arrived for me.

My initial reaction- “Yayy!” followed by the grave “Dharm Sankat” kind of look.

I couldn’t wait to open the package and the minute I saw the cover I knew I had to finish my previous pile ASAP before I begin this one –for the simple reason that if I started reading “A Godly Blunder” before finishing my pending books, chances were that I might never return to them.
And boy was I right or Right!!!

I managed to finish 3 books within the next 5 days (with extensive breaks of course) and finally picked up Parimal’s debut offering – A Godly Blunder.

I held the book for a good five minutes before opening it. Pinaki De certainly should be praised for the cover design and illustrations. Very catchy. And funny.
The author’s thoughtful gesture of sending a signed bookmark with a special note on it made me smile.
He even wrote a personalized message thanking me on accepting the book for a review. (At this point, I’d accept a simultaneous “Awww….”from everyone reading this. Thank you.)

And so the journey to read the Godly blunder began.

The story is about a young German man, Oliver, who dies in an accident while at work. He is a quality control manager in a premium car company in West Germany. He finds himself in Heaven, along with his colleague Maik.

Now Heaven is described as a plush hotel (Hotel Paradise) with executive suites for all. The majestic decor of the place and the serenity make for enviable scenes, and you wish to be there than read about it in a book.

Oliver is living a dream it seems. Every day is a Sunday. Sumptuous food, tasteful liquor, splendid wardrobe, premium cars –oh the works! (All this with no “cost” or “fat” factor attached! Truly Blissful!!! Wish I were dead and there.)

Oliver is granted five minutes with the Almighty and the conversation hooks you on.

Twenty five years later (in God’s time) Oliver is called by God for an “assignment”. There seems to be a technical snag in the Soul Management System (SMS) of Swarg and until that is resolved Oliver is required to fill in for a soul (on Earth) who has been wrongly captured. No brownie points for guessing where Oliver is being sent- yes, India! That too Maharashtra!!!

Oliver is to take the place of a middle-class man Siddhesh and thus begins a roller coaster ride for the readers and for Oliver of course!

The corruption, the dishonesty, the “sab chalta hai” attitude, the meaning of “load-shedding”, “ghoos”, “Kharra” and many more things that hit Oliver make for a highly entertaining read.
He is cheated by his relatives, kidnapped by goons, meets a “babaji”, understands the mentality of people around him, and realizes how life in India functions- all in the span of a few months before he is called back.

And you know what – don’t miss out the last page. The crux of the story lies there. It will make you introspect. Even if for a minute.

 

You just know you’ve found a good book when you can’t wait to know what’s in store on the next page.
Parimal’s writing skills are superb. The plot and ideation are gripping. The pace is quite decent and the language is simply effective. The characters are strong and relatable to. Oliver is shown as a brave but sensitive man. You develop genuine concern for him as you read about his kidnapping and distraught state. This shows that the author has managed to establish a connect with his readers.

There are quips of wisdom, and spurts of humor; spears of sarcasm and witty arrows.
Do not miss Oliver’s conversation with the babaji (Chapter: You Don’t Need A God -Pg 131 onwards).

I barely found any flaws –be it in the editing of the book, or the grammar, or the language. Yes, no slangs to make it funny or gross.

Wonderful Wonderful Wonderful experience reading it.

Oh and I finished the book in about 5 hours! (I just got lazy to write the review earlier.)

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Book Review of “Two Fates: The Story of My Divorce” by Judy Balan

No matter how “modern” we become in our thinking, some things will never change in the Indian society. I’m hinting at one of our most primary concerns, or should I say arrangement – marriage. People still have a lot of trouble convincing their folks to approve of their love/marriage, when they fall in love with a person outside their “community”. A “love marriage” sometimes is still looked down at, in most clans.
Let’s say you face all the music and convince your parents to get you married to the person you love and think it’s going to be a “happily ever after” sort of a life, only to realize that things are not really all that fine. And you (mutually) think of a divorce. Bhamm!
How do you think you’ll convince your parents for that!??!

 

Judy Balan’s debut novel “Two Fates: The Story of My Divorce” revolves around this very plot.
We have a cute couple, Deepika Sundar (a chirpy Tamilian girl) and Rishab Khanna (a handsome Punjabi boy) who after a lot of trials and tribulations convince their parents and get married, and within a couple of years think of getting divorced! On mutual grounds, of course. The trouble they majorly face here is: their parents have developed a fondness for them as well as their respective families. They now look up to Deepika and Rishab as the ideal couple and wish for the other children of their community to follow suit. Oh, and did I mention, how desperately both the families look forward to the couple having a baby!?! It’s true when they say, in India you don’t just marry a person, you marry the entire clan!
The crux of the story definitely is way different from any that I’ve heard/read in a long while. And let me confess, the writing got me hooked from the very first page – the acknowledgement and the prologue had me giggling and laughing and smiling and loving it all the way till the end.

The scenes (almost all of them) are funny and rightly over-dramatic. I could absolutely relate to each and every situation since I share a similar background (professionally and personally).
Imagine the roller coaster ride that the readers are put on, when a money conscious, traditional Tamil family blends in with the forever-partying-and-drowning-in-whiskey Punjabi family!
There is not a single page in here that will not crack you up. If you think the portrayal of Punjabi’s is overtly dramatic and “louder than the drums”, well…it is so! There’s a reason we are “fun-jabis”!

 

Judy has done justice to the plot and the story. It is simply interesting, humorous, entertaining, intriguing, and yes captivating! (Yes, that’s how impressed I was!)
The sweet quibble of the couple; the randomness of the forever-after-your-life- aunties; the pseudo-sophisticated behavior of the so-called NRIs; the typical struggle with boss/colleagues; and the understanding and love that the couple share will stay in your mind even after you put the book down.
For a debut novel, Judy has done wonders. The book makes up for a light read over a relaxed weekend.
Let’s give truly fictional scenes a pass, after all this is just a parody of “you-know-which-book”.

 

I recommend this to every person reading the review. Go pick it up!

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Book Review of “Just Friends” by Sumrit Shahi

Just Friends

By Sumrit Shahi

Picking this up wasn’t a bad deal at all. Sumrit has shown good potential with his debut novel JUST FRIENDS – a story that revolves around the friendship between a girl and a boy. The age old question of whether a girl and a guy can be friends seems to be answered almost perfectly by this teenager.

The story is about the two youngsters Aaryan and Tanie and their growing up years in school and hostel. Very relatable instances of the regular bunking, group studying, hostel tantrums, indulging in sports, examination fevers, friendships, crushes and first love add flavor and fragrance to his writing. School life is an important part of a person’s life. Those are the days of carelessness and alertness all the same. It somewhat leads you to your path ahead in life. For some, those are the most wonderful days of growing up…while for some a difficult road with hardships and bruises. Filled with humorous incidents and decently intellectual conversations, the book overall is a breezy and a refreshing read.

What prompted me more to pick up the book was its blurb/synopsis on the back page. “He knows everything about her, right from her favourite books to her favorite bra. She knows everything about him, right from his favourite soccer club to his favourite x rated websites. He will complete her English homework, even at three in the night. She will arrange an Armani suit for him, even if it calls for flirting with ugly guys. He has her picture in his wallet. She has his number on speedial. They talk to each other all the time. They talk about each other when they don’t talk to each other. They discuss everything from periods to playstation. They have tasted alcohol and then thrown up…together. They have bunked countless tuitions… together. They cant live without each other. YET They don’t love each other. They are JUST FRIENDS.”

Also, for me, most importantly, the correct usage of the language made it an enjoyable experience. I’m happy Sumrit did not disappoint me. There is humor, wit, emotions, and an element of connectivity.

Good work. Worth reading.

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Books and Authors that make you laugh.

I like the fact that some young authors are exploring the lost art of humor writing and coming up with funny books. Here are some of the recent few helpings (of books) that I relished.


Horn OK Please – HOPping to Conclusions by Kartik Iyengar, is a fun-tastic read. It chronicles Kartik’s journey across the country with his friends. The book is hilarious. It has anecdotes from the journey and snippets of randomness that end up instigating brain waves to ponder on the reality around us. A great read -to treasure and cherish!

Dork: The Incredible Adventures Of Robin ‘Einstein’ Varghese, by Sidin Vadukut, is a chronicle of a dork. Blunders, mishaps, and errors are a plenty. Robin ‘Einstein’ Varghese becomes more of person than just a character. Absolutely hilarious read.

Pyramid Of Virgin Dreams by Vipul Mittra is a brilliantly written satire that reveals the professional lives of IAS officers and the babus in government offices. The books gives a good insight to the world of babudom – the tongue-n-cheek incidents, the sarcasm, the power play by the ones in higher seats, and the ass-kissing agents (Joshi), are very smartly portrayed.
Corporate Atyaachaar: The Comical Journey Of An Office Doormat by Abhay Nagarajan, tells the story of a twenty four year old financial advisor as he encounters many ‘non-financial’ experiences including a dancing dog which suffers from a memory loss, a revelation that a client enjoys hog body massages, a client who paints nude art for charity, a curious case of a ‘stubborn’ nipple and a house hunt for a missing musical mobile!

May I Hebb Your Attention Pliss by Arnab Ray, GreatBong, is a sarcastic, politically incorrect and totally irreverent look at assorted random stuff including Bollywood C-grade revenge masalas, ribald songs of the people, movie punching, fake educational institutes, stubborn bathroom flushes, unreal reality shows, the benefits of corruption, opulent weddings, brains in toaster ovens, seedy theatres and pompous non-resident Indians.

The Mad, Mad World Of Cricket by Sudhir Dhar, captures the funny side of Cricket. All illustrations depicting the witty style of the artist, take a dig at the state of the country when the Cricket season is in full bloom!

The pioneer R. K. Laxman and his quips on the Indian society through the eyes of the common man make for the best satire.

Who can ever forget P. G. Wodehouse’s Jeeves and Blandings Castle novels and short stories? The renowned English humorist is best known for the eccentric characters and humorous plots making his readers laugh at every single opportunity.

Oh! and one of my personal favorites is Bill Watterson‘s Calvin and Hobbes collection. Stupendous.

It sure is a difficult task to make someone smile. But it ain’t impossible. All you need (apart from brains) is a good sense of humor and an eye for details.

(Post by Sanjana Kapoor)

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Humor in Writing

Humor does rule the world. At least my world.

Reading humorous pieces livens up our day. It breaks the monotone of work and life. Most problems can be fixed with a dose of laughter. But what I like most about humor pieces is the fact that the point under scrutiny is communicated with much effect and quite intelligently. It also reflects a bit of the writer’s character trait. A writer with a good sense of humor will make sure his/her pieces amuse people.

And others on the verge of writing, here’s a bit of information on the various types of humor in writing:

Burlesque – a form of satire. Burlesque ridicules any basic style of speech or writing. (Parody makes fun of specific writings.)

Caricature – exaggeration of a person’s mental, physical, or personality traits, in wisecrack form. Most people think of sketches when you mention a caricature. But this form of humor reflects well in writing too.

Comedy – a ludicrous and amusing event or series of events designed to provide enjoyment and produce smiles or laughter usually written in a light, familiar, bantering, or satirical style. There are also topical, romantic, satirical, and verbal wit comedies.
The word comes from the French comedie which was derived from the Greco-Latin comoedia which was formed by combining komos, meaning “to revel,” and aeidein, meaning “to sing.”

Exaggeration/Hyperbole – An exaggerated witticism overstates the features, defects, or the strangeness of someone or something. Extreme exaggeration is Hyperbole.

Epigram- clever, short saying about a general group. Mostly satire about mankind.

Incongruity – Lack of harmony between two statements or events is incongruity. A particular situation leading to something totally unrelated does bring in a weirdly funny situation. George Orwell’s Animal Farm is a good example of incongruity.

Irony – something that has been said or done differently than what was meant. It’s like someone says the opposite of what they mean and the listener believes the opposite of what they said.

Repartee – includes clever replies and retorts. The most common form is the insult.

Satire - wit that is critical humor. Satire is sarcasm that makes fun of something.

Surprise
– Surprise elements bring in suspense and unexpected twists. And humor eventually.

Sarcasm – this is one of the most popular forms of humor in literature. Known to be a sharp, harsh, bitter or cutting remark on something or someone, sarcasm often receives high appreciation.

Parody -humorous version of any well-known writing.

Pun
– Puns are more of word play. Jokes, one-liners and witty remarks often are composed of puns. (E.g.: What disease can one associate with cigarettes? Answer: Premature death.)

Wisecrack
– any clever remark about a particular person or thing. Wisecracks are quick wordplays about a person.

Wit -humor, irony, sarcasm, satire, repartee. Wit is funny because of the sudden sharpness and quick perception. Wit can bite. Verbal wit is a type of humor known as Wordplay.

Another technique to induce laughter is to mold funny characters. Or give them certain personality traits that make them unique, in a funny way. Making characters give unsolicited advice (E.g.:  Advice to people who want to buy a puppy:  Don’t.); or narrating interesting anecdotes that induce laughter; or blending two or more words to make a new one (fantabulous from fantastic + fabulous) induce amusement.
(To be continued…
Books and Authors that make you laugh.
)

(Post by Sanjana Kapoor)

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