After a really long time I read a book in less than a week , because I had to write this review by that time and also mainly I couldn't keep the book down. "Tamasha in Bandargaon" by first time writer Navneet Jagannathan is a fun read to say the least. The author has spent his early years in Mumbai and Bangalore and that is truly reflected in his writing. Also it gives me immense sadistic pleasure if I find a typo or grammatical error in a book, but it is hard to do so with this one . The language is simple and grammar impeccable. The grammar nazi in me is super upset.
The back cover will tell you that the book is R.K.Narayan's Malgudi Days revisited . Yes , you could say that and constant comparison will happen but this book is no short of brilliant . It leaves you with a little afterglow , a sheepish smile on your face and a strong faith in happy endings. There is no Swami , but there is a Srinivasan . There is no strict father but there is a tyrant father in law , Sitaram Sajjanpur.There is no submissive mother but a strong affirmative Lakshibai. Its a book about the "Mango" people, "Aam" aadmi . There is tons of wry humour , strange situations and unpredictable madness. Each page has you gripped and brings along a new twist to the story.
This is a story of the fictitious suburb of Bandargaon hidden somewhere in the midst of Mumbai. Go back 20 years and you can say this is exactly how Mumbai used to be then .There's Sunrise Apartment with all its co-operative society politics. There's a slum nearby , where the help for these apartments come from . A gambling den which runs in the ruins of a corporation building and of course, a tea stall that is the center of all gossip and important meetings. A love triangle blooming among the youthful characters and a fight to woo the girl's family. Each character is beautifully defined and crisp with just the right blend of humour and color.
Its a complete laugh riot to see how all these characters and situations intertwine with each other and troubles and worries of their journey disappear as they move on with their lives. This book has a "Nukkad" feel to it , with a lot of past to present transitions as the story of each character develops. The humour is more real and situational , not to forget easy to relate with rather than being over the top cheeky. It has a certain cuteness about it. A sequel could actually do well and maybe a TV series could follow - that is the drill isn't it?
My personal favorite characters would be Suresh Borkari , the troubled son-in-law of an MLA candidate struggling to maintain a balance between keeping his wife and father in law both happy and in turn upsetting both. Chagan the roadside romeo and rogue will also bring out the soft corner in you and put a smile on your face more than once. The characters are the win - win about this book which will keep you hooked and leave you wanting for more. With this I end my review and suggest you to read this book with a cup of warm Chai in your hand.
" Yet another day ebbed in Bandargaon. And the music - the music played on "
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