I have always felt that humour is one of the most difficult genre to write. I am not saying that romance, or thriller, or fantasy novels are easy to write, but they cannot stand in the same stead as a humour novel. Being a stand-up comedian, or being a quick-wit is no guarantee that that person can write humour well. Humour articles are another thing; they are short, they have a word-limit, and it is far easier to be humourous in short dosages. That is why, I was apprehensive of the book “Bala Takes The Plunge” by humour columnist Melvin Durai. But I was wrong, the book was hilarious!
The book deals with the most common problem faced by males in India – how to find a girl to marry? Bala lives in America, with his dog America, and has decided to look for girls himself as his mother is intent on getting him married soon. The book recounts his bizarre methods of meeting the girls, and his conversations with the ones that he eventually manages to meet. He tries to woo the girl at checkout counter, joins book-reading clubs and cycling clubs, buys a Rushdie and displays it to impress the lady visitors to his house, digs through the multitude of matrimonial sites, and even thinks of marrying his cousin in his quest to find the perfect girl.
I found two very different kinds of humour in the book – situational humour, and the word play. I’ve always been a fan of word-play and really enjoyed those small strokes of genius. There were sometimes sentences which would not make any sense, and only when I reread the sentence, would I notice the brilliant word-play. One minute the protagonist is talking about shelling money, the next minute is talking about shelling peanuts – and the reader could very easily miss this. Sometimes the humour is in your face, and sometimes it is too subtle to take notice – but in both cases the humour does not seem forced.
Generally I tend to have a few grouses with most of the books that I read, but in this book there were no major sore points. At times the book dragged a bit, and sometimes there were pages of paragraphs with no conversation at all – but apart from those few pages, the book was a very good read.
Addendum: This is a author requested review. Melvin contacted me to review his book.