May 14, 2008

Sweet Sting in the Tail

Have just finished reading Mridula Garg’s slyly subversive Joote ka Jod, Gobhi ka Tod. In her introduction Garg scoffs at the widely held notion that women writers are best able to occupy the heads of their women characters, and in the stories that follow, she proceeds to prove it a hogwash.

Men are the principal characters in these delightful stories. Men with an appetite for more food, a better life, revenge, their roots, meaningful friendships, freedom, clean air, eccentricity. Things often don’t turn out according to our heroes’ plans in these stories, and I found I was putty in the author’s hands waiting for the well-laid plans to fall apart and careen into a wicked, far more satisfying end.

The last eponymous story, a tale of an unexpected friendship that grows between a mochi and a munshi as also a tart comment on caste, has a mouth-watering description of lauki ka zaaykedar sheeri lachha. I had to request Ma to make it for lunch today.