Mrs Funnybones is back and is doing what she likes the best – narrating stories.
For her second book – The Legend of Lakshmi Prasad – Twinkle Khanna aka Mrs Funnybones steers clear of the elitist club and walks down the desi streets, shopping for characters and their quirky nuances, and weaves together four stories. Although inherently different from one another, all four tell the same tale – about the women of this land.
The Bollywood-actress-turned-writer takes us through the plains of Ganges, the dry lands of Madhya Pradesh and even the sea-kissed shores of Mumbai. The little girls of rural village, the elderly women lost in the cacophony of our cities and the men in their lives form the crux of the book.
The romance you come across in its pages is not the one that sweeps you off the feet, but the one that ensures you stay grounded and optimistic even in times of crisis.
My personal pick would be ‘Salaam, Noni Appa’, a story that shatters societal notions even as it re-establishes faith in human relations.
A septuagenarian woman falling in love with a younger man from another community might seem a little too fictitious; but the writer reassures that one is never too old to fall in love, even if it’s with the help of a hearing-aid.
Strewn with a steady supply of chucklesome moments, the book is a justification of her status as ‘Mrs Funnybones’ (also the name of her first book).
There is one short story about a Keralite girl too. It was sheer delight to come across terms such as ‘meen moilee’ and Kayamkulam in the story, and we give special brownie points to the author for giving the southern stereotypes a skip.
Also, it’s not just fiction and imagination that play out in the book.
The final tale – Sanitary Man in the Sacred Land – chronicles the real life story of Padma Sri Arunachalam Muruganantham, a villager credited with making low-cost sanitary napkin machines. Through this man’s gritting tale, we are told how women in India suffer ‘during those days’ and why they fear discussing 'the problem' with the menfolk.
Feminism gets a whole new makeover in the hands of Mrs Funnybones.
Calling a spade by its real name is one of the biggest strengths of the book and the writer does it with élan, all the while ensuring that humor is infused in the right amount in the right places.
It’s not just smirks and smiles that Mrs Funnybones elicits from the reader; she also makes you cry and at times, forces you to sit up with an undirected anger.
The Legend of Lakshmi Prasad is a must-read – for every woman and the ones who believe in women.