Then I curse Chhimi Tenduf-La. Why couldn't he have released his new book on Kindle?
Then I curse myself. Why the hell am I writing like him? In short punchy sentences.
I have started reading Panther. The second novel by Chhimi Tenduf-La. Of The amazing racist fame. As usual I can't put it down. Sadly I have to. I have three free hours ahead of me. Three hours I could have spent immersed in this great story. But you can't be seen reading a book at a wedding can you? Even if you don't know anyone else there. It is considered rude. Not acceptable. Unlike staring into your phone. Only if his publishers had allowed him to release the kindle version at the same time he released the hard copy of his book in Sri Lanka.
Life is not fair.
So I leave the wedding early. Tell the driver to take the longest route possible. Pray that there is loads of traffic. Sit back and slip in between the pages.
Panther is a great second novel. Far more powerful than the first. A dark and complex tale. A story line with unexpected twists and turns. And amazing funny bits which has become a trademark of this author.
"There is great value in shaving one's legs if one's legs were female."
This much is true. You have heard that. Most nights. Most mornings. Sometimes over lunch or with a cup of tea. Sometimes while in the car.
Amma never listened but Appa let it go. No complaints. Hell, one physical fault was nothing to worry about for a man as chilled as your Appa.
Things they say started to go wrong when your amma found a waffle iron in a bombed out restaurant.
You had no electricity, so Appa tapped into the local army camp's generator. A military policeman caught him. Appa bribed him. With waffles.
But he was running short of ingredients, so he used his van to spy for the army. They paid in him in flour, jaggery, eggs and milk.
The gossips say Amma fell in love with waffles. Thought of waffles first thing in the morning. Dreamt of waffles at night. With this obsession came rapid weight gain.
And once your amma hit one hundred kilos, your Appa could no longer ignore her body hair, so they say.
Appa like most men in this parts had needs, and if people in these parts had needs, they visited the hairless wife of the unemployed film critic."
Isn't this irresistible? To me it was. So much so that I copied the entire passage manually. Laboriously typing in one word at a time. Whilst being jerked around in rush hour traffic. Squinting hard to see my screen against the morning sun.
Chhimi says this book is about terrorism and it's impact. And he has (very wisely) created a fictitious terrorist organisation called The Panthers to do so.
But to me it is also about racism. Not the brown vs white that we read about in his first book. This time it's about the haves against the have-nots. The well educated against the poorly educated. The do-gooders against those who accept their charity. And worse of all Sri Lankan against Sri Lankan.