by Manuela Timofte
I like reading and my soul was urging me to stop on one of Terveen Gill’s books. Therefore, I stopped on Five Pinches of Laughter: Funny Tales of Funnier Lives and I am happy I did that, for I liked them.
She is an author, writer, editor, film maker based in Chandigarh, India. As she says, she uses feelings, thoughts and actions “and codes them into stories that reflect and compute the complexities and absurdities of life.”
Five Pinches of Laughter: Funny Tales of Funnier Lives
They are 5 short stories that make you laugh, as the author says “if you haven’t lost your funny bone”.
Each story takes the reader through other places, and other lives. The characters are people, birds or angels. No matter what kind of characters they are, they highlight very well the man and all sorts of aspects/ events he goes through his life.
The stories are funny, for Terveen “paints” with wisdom and delicacy negative aspects of life and splash them with “pinches of laughter”. In this way, her stories are easy and beautiful. As I said, I liked them all, but I loved the first and the last one. I will talk here about the first one «Bird Talk».
It is the first of the short stories. It has as main character a little bird. She is part of the family where mother is “the action as well as the reaction”, while for her father “time was money, and wasting it on talking was equivalent to wasting money.” She has a younger brother, Dev. Their bond was a special one “based purely upon friendship and unconditional love”.
Dumdum, the little bird who is also the narrator of the story is a funny character. During dinner “the toughest time of the day”, she sees her father and brother on one side, space-out during dinner, with hands moving, mouths chewing, “but their eyes looked blank and glassy.” In this time, her mother is gossiping in a terrible English, and Dumdum usually becomes her target. However, she knows her mother very well. Even if she thinks differently, she always has the same polite answers for her mama: ”Yes, mama./ No, mama./ Sorry, mama./ Okay, mama…”
Spending time together as a family was not «their cup of tea». Dinner time becomes family time, when there is her aunt. Dumdum and Dev learn a lot from their aunt and they love her. Moreover, Dumdum’s wish was her aunt would live with them, so that her mother “could get a chance to rest her tongue”…
I will rest my tongue, for I am not going to tell you about all the five stories. You have to read them to see what Terveen is hiding in her book and behind her lines.
I will end up saying that her book is pure joy from start to finish. Using the author’s words “we ourselves are the key to our salvation”. So, you can be bored and depressed, or you can laugh and enjoy your life, for “every man and woman for themselves is the safest bet.”
Please visit www.terveengill.com to read more of her stories and articles.
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