Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Book Review "Ambling Indian Diaries" by Aina Rao

A vibrant, colourful and dramatic cover that literally depicts a typical day in an Indian city, and a colophon that promises quirky, thought provoking take on various social norms and issues, I set my expectations high for this book.

“Ambling Indian diaries” is a diary of a wimpy youngster living the corporate tumultuous millennial Indian life who resorts to dark humour, satire, hypocrisy to engage us with her (probably true) life experiences. 

Book Blurb
This unusual take on India offers a neverseen- before view of the country through the eyes of the Ambling Indian - a new generation aam aurat. This delicious mix of laughter, spice and nuggets of reflection to savour, delights the mind. We meet people just like us and experience hilarious happenings through the 31 stories woven together with one common thread - India's journey. Watch the Ambling Indian rewire the IIT syllabi, struggle with taxes, celebrate a pink valentine's day and plunge into the hoi polloi of Indian politics, journalism, modern offices, IIMs, weddings, cities and Bollywood. These intriguing stories cast Mangoman, Kofee Johar, Dr. Rupee Rajan and Runny Singh, among many other unforgettable characters. Challenges merge with the joy, agony and ecstacy of life in India. We are left bemused by this marvellous nation with its unique amalgamation of cultures and thought. Be prepared to go on a rollicking fun ride and discover India that puzzles, amuses, excites and provokes thought, through the mirror of the Ambling Indian Aina, an IIT and IIM graduate, who in the process, discovers an unknown side to herself too.

From the very start, the author makes us dive in into the chaotic streets of Bengaluru and her life as a reporter. She takes swipes from politicians(Mangoman Party) to Show business (Koffee Johar) and gives us a peek of what she does, what she actually thinks and the frustration in between. Using cryptic and pointing names such as Mr. Chatu(the sycophant), Runny Singh (her boyfriend with commitment issues) she makes sure that we get the character description from the name itself. Be it the reckless driving or the marital problems of her autorickshaw driver Jamal or social issues like scams, education the author explores it all using witty jibes throughout this book.

The book is written in first person narrative. At the start of every chapter there is a child like pencil drawing that gives us a hint of what’s to come. The chapters are short, sweet and non-related. The book is mostly written in a light vein but there are some dark parts which feel forced, misplaced and disconnected. There were a lot of favourite relatable moments especially from “Big and Bad Data” and “On Coaching Classes and IIT” to name a few.

Personally, I felt that the there was a huge potential in the content, but required a good editing. Every taken swing or satire pinches a bit but fails to drive the point home, as we move from one chapter to next. With more depth and clarity it would had actually had matched the expectations that the cover sets.

For Aina Rao’s maiden simple humorous banter, my overall rating would be 3/5.

Overall Verdict:- Simple, funny, relatable but could be better

Book can be found at Amazon & Flipkart
Review from other readers can be found at GoodReads


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