First things first, am I exactly like the woman in the book that you are about to read? Not entirely, she is slightly lazier, a bit more high-strung and her jokes are a lot funnier than mine.
In writing her and the characters around her, I have thrown in a few facts, a little fiction, a few decaying brain cells and a couple of old bones into my brewing cauldron of words.
It all started with Sarita Tanwar asking me if I would write a humorous weekly column for her newspaper. Her exact words were: ‘You crack daft jokes all the time and you read incessantly, I am sure you can write.’
I tried telling her that millions of people watch cricket all the time but I doubt if they can play, but she interrupted me by saying that I should write a piece and then we shall see.
What did I really know about writing? Memories of a half-written book in my teens surfaced; this, along with a file of morbid poems, all focusing on death and maggots, constituted my entire writing experience.
But I have always had a peculiar way of looking at life, and my goal to amuse myself often ended up amusing others as well.
In my opinion, growing older is all about learning and passing it on, otherwise there is no reason for biological evolution to keep us alive after our reproductive years are over.
A clearer view of life is probably the only silver lining to having to hoist your boobs over your shoulder and getting to the point where not only do you have eye bags, but even your eye bags begin to sag.
So, having fulfilled my function of ensuring that the population of India continues to explode, and before dementia sets in, I decided to sit down, open my laptop and start my first column, which led to almost a hundred columns, and then it eventually brought me right here, to this very book.
Now, this is the time to turn the page and dive into Mrs Funnybones (the book, you twits, not me!).
Starring ‘you know who’ as the main lead, then of course, the man of the house, the eccentric mothers, two fairly strange children, and cameos by stubborn canines, weird neighbours, Parsi electricians and even a movie star or two. Welcome to my world . . .
A: Am I an Idiot?
8 a.m.: The prodigal son, the baby and I are wildly dancing to ‘All about that bass’, a song that primarily deals with the concept that a big backside is infinitely better, and since the baby can also just about warble through the chorus, this is immediately declared our favourite song of all time. The radio plays on and there is the notorious Anaconda song again about having a big booty, and when the baby starts trying to mouth, ‘Oh my God, look at her butt’, an observation that may not go down so well with her playschool teachers, I hastily switch the music off.
9 a.m.: Trying to check my emails, I get hold of my iPad and boom there it is: #breaktheinternet and pictures of Kim Kardashian pouring champagne while balancing a glass on her bottom. Kimmy darling, why didn’t you tell me you wanted a drink? You really didn’t need to pose as a human bar counter; I would have just sent my Ramu and Pappu. One would hold the glass, the other would pour and you could sit, relax and use your posterior to break the sofa instead.
To digress a little, before the world even knew Kimmy existed, we had the famous choreographer Saroj Khan who could certainly balance a tray and a cup of tea on her bottom if she tried, not that she ever did. She used that bit to sway gloriously and teach others to do the same. Just like our politicians, I am bringing this up to prove that anything anyone can do, we Indians could have or have done it earlier and better.
As I am formulating the rest of my patriotic speech, I hear the man of the house say, ‘Can you be quiet for just five minutes?’ And I realize that I have actually been speaking aloud while hunched over my iPad. Blimey . . .
11 a.m.: Sitting in front of my computer and drinking coffee, I spot an email from my accountant stating, ‘Dear Madam, My sister very dangerous. I want to saw her. Please give leave three days! Good day, Srinivasan’
Hmm . . . Either his sister is a serial killer and he has decided to cut her in half or as I quickly figure (with the help of a strong swig of coffee), he is saying that his sister is sick and he wants to see her.
I send him an email back informing him that since this is his nineteenth relative in grave danger, he needs to either consult a tantric to remove a curse on his family or to simply stop lying to take extra days off. I shut my computer and hurriedly get ready to reach the office.
4 p.m.: I am at the store and we are launching our new collection when I notice that instead of dealing with a customer who will hopefully spend all her husband’s hard-earned money on my beautiful, gold-embossed candles, my salesgirl is fast asleep at her desk. I tentatively wipe drool from the cash register and give her a sharp nudge. She yelps awake and then gives me her sorry tale of being sleep deprived due to her husband’s daily sonorous and torturous snoring. Blimey . . .
7.45 p.m.: Mother has come over for a cup of tea, and as we are chatting, the prodigal son runs into the room and yells that he needs to buy a book urgently for his English assignment. Crossword is the nearest bookstore, so we quickly decide to go there. I grab my bag with one hand, lug the baby with the other and hurriedly ask mom to drop us off at the store while leaving instructions with the watchman to inform our driver to reach Crossword in twenty minutes.
8.10 p.m.: We are at the bookstore and I tell the prodigal son, ‘Hey, let’s go to that aisle, I need some pens and I can see some marker pens there.’ And the baby immediately chirps, ‘Where pens? Show me!’ She is at such a precious age; curious about everything. We buy two books on poetry for the prodigal son and a Dora sticker book for the baby and head out.
Standing on the dark pavement, I am scanning the street for my car to no avail. I try calling the driver but the number is unreachable, and after fifteen minutes of being stared at by passers-by with the baby squirming in my arms, the prodigal son says that he sees a rickshaw. The baby squeaks, ‘Where rickshaw? Show me!’
8.30 p.m.: The prodigal son hails the rickshaw and we all clamber in. This is the baby’s first ride in a rickshaw and she is rather thrilled. We then turn into the long private road that leads to our building when the rickshaw driver suddenly says, ‘Madam, that hero Akshay Kumar used to live here but now he lives in Bandra.’
As my mouth falls open and before I can protest, he continues, ‘Arrey, he’s married to Rajesh Khanna’s daughter, na, and Dimple Kapadia is there but the daughter doesn’t have anything to do with the mother; especially now that she is the only heir. So this Akshay and his family have all moved to that big house in Bandra.’