Tuesday, December 14

Bala Takes The Plunge by Melvin Durai

If there was a genre called guy-lit, Melvin Durai’s debut novel Bala Takes the Plunge would easily qualify as one. A few pages into the book and I was guffawing at Melvin’s play of words and funny observations. Rajinikant-lovers will be thrilled to encounter some of his famous dialogues in this clever and extremely witty book.

Balasubramaniam Balasubramaniam aka Bala is a big fan of Rajinikant.His ambition is to become a director and make a movie starring the Superstar. Alas, practical aspects push him to pursue an engineering degree at Thiru Harichandran University of Technology (THIT) in Chennai and get “exported” to the US.THIT!! ha ha ha!.In the US, he becomes Bill Balasubramaniam and the director of a company that produces exercise machines. Well settled in a cushy job in a company that excels in deceiving people with infomercials on their exercise machines, Bala realizes that he needs to move on to the next step in life and … gets a dog, which he names America .I know what you are thinking.Cheeky, right?. Hilarious and crazy is what I thought.

Bala wants to get married as he approaches his big 3-0 and takes the help of “How to find the perfect mate in 30 days or less with no help from your parents in India.” He fancies a white girl who works at a store nearby and is secretly thrilled when she makes polite,but random comments. But before he can take things to the next level, disaster strikes and Bala is left stranded on the highway of love.The rest of the story is about how Bala joins activity groups, matrimonial sites and seeks parental intervention to find his“perfect mate”. Funny stuff ,really!

Melvin takes digs at things as diverse as exercise machine commercials,the staggering amounts of waste that America (not the dog;-))generates,role of American dogs,attitude of Chinese suppliers,people who buy Salman Rushdie books just to appear erudite,functional purpose of butts,matrimonial ads ,the SMS lingo and many more random things. Infact, for the first 60 odd pages,there was barely any dialogue and movement in the story ,with the pages filled with wry,witty observations.The book mentions that part of Melvin’s humour columns have been incorporated into the book. Maybe, a huge chunk of the material drawn from the columns went into the first 70 pages. However, after the 70 pages, the narrative gets fast-paced and breezy.

The book’s strength is its unpretentious-ness and Melvin has done a good job at fleshing out Bala’s character-Bala is as believable as it can get.Melvin’s wit shines through the pages and he peppers the book generously with mini-jokes and one-liners. Some of the situations are thoroughly funny like the one in which Bala stands in the queue outside the Chennai American Embassy to get his H1 stamping done and contemplates the prospect of buying a two rupee Bonda. He imagines the Bonda traveling from hand to hand down the queue finally to him, coated in sweat and other “suspect” fluids. I almost fell out of the chair laughing.

Sample some more goodies from the book..

“Your appa and I walk 6 kilometers a day.He walks five kilometers in the morning and I walk one kilometer in the evening.”

American flags arrive at Walmart from a manufacturer in China bearing 53 stars .When demanded an explanation,the Chinese manufacturer says “We give you a good deal-53 stars for the price of 50.” LOL,seriously !.

Overall, a funny book that loved reading.I’ll rate it 3.5/5 and will recommend it to anyone who loves a good no-holds barred laugh. The book is really slim and can be finished in a few hours.I loved the illustration on the cover.So witty,like the rest of the book !

A big thanks to Melvin for sending me the book to review.Looking forward to his next novel.

About the author : Melvin Durai lives with his three Children and Wife in Winnipeg ,Canada and has written hundreds of humour columns in newspapers and magazines.For more information and to read his columns ,head over to his website www.MelvinDurai.com


Anonymous said...

Another review?? Great going, lady!

Veens said...

Sounds like a fun read! I am going to definitely check this one out :)

Violet said...

I find everything related to Rajnikant funny :)

I think I read a review of this book somewhere else too. Looks like it's worth reading. Thanks for the review.

Vibha said...

Very well written review. Felt the same about the book. An interesting light read book with some intelligent puns and witty humour.

Anonymous said...

Aaah! This has been on my list from the time I read his interview (think it was done by Krishashok??.The current book is taking too long.. The to-read list is getting bigger and bigger.. sigh!!

Bikramjit said...

Another one.. when do u get time to read all the books .. i am impressed :)


Madhu said...

I am unable to find half the books you mention here. I try to buy in Amazon but too expensive to get from India :(

Reg Barry Eliser books, I thoroughly enjoyed ALL his books. In fact I am in love with the hero John Rain. This hasn't happened to me since I knew Howard Roark; which is a very long time ago when i was in early-teens.

Coming back to John Rain, you will need to start with his first book,

* Rain Fall
* Hard Rain
* Rain Storm
* Killing Rain
* The Last Assassin
* Requiem for an Assassin

Bedazzled said...

deeps ..:-)

Veens.. Its good fun.. do pick it up !

Violet.. i dont know whether i find Rajinikant funny,but am in awe at the kind of following he commands..I have been reading a few reviews of this book too

Vibha.. i remember reading a review by Vishesh.. Glad you enjoyed it too

Life..Kris does Book reviews? Its been a while since i visited his blog..which book are you reading currently ?

Bikram.. Thanks for hanging around.. one more review and i promise no more reviews for a while ;-)

Madhu..This one's on Amazon (http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=bala+takes+the+plunge&x=24&y=15); By the water cooler is not listed on Amazon yet. I am a huuuugggeee fan of Roark too.. I still haven't found a replacement for my Roark -fixation yet!Now i must find Rainfall..

Geeta said...

Amazon better be selling this book or I will wait until I reach Landmard (a book store in Chennai) on my next trip. Loved your review. Its on my must read list now.

This is precisely the kind of book I read these days. Slim, humorous and nothing heavy.

A said...

Seems like a must read. Thanks. I will get hold of it soon.

Vaishnavi said...

Nice review about a fun read!! I love the sound of this book!

Anonymous said...

Sounds like fun. Do I get to take back these books when I come home? I shall, in return give you access to my bountiful & beaeutifoool musik! :) How's that for a fair deal?

Bedazzled said...

Geeta.. Yeah,amazon has it .. do read it and let me know what u think


Vaishnavi.. :-)

Visual:-).. I havent read that Karl book you bought me yet.. sure music for books is a fair deal..I need some stuff too.. will mail you abt it.

Kamini said...

Oh I must try to get my hands on this one! After Srividya Natarajan's "No onions No garlic" I have yet to find a raucously funny Wodehousian book like that! This one sounds like it. Hope my neighborhood Landmark has it......

Bedazzled said...

KAmini.. Srividya's book was hillarious !! I loved it too!!! I remember rating it 4.5 ;-)..Hope you manage to get a copy at the local Landmark.