Author: Aina Rao
Publisher: Frog books, an imprint of Leadstart Publishing
Cover Design: Mishta Roy
Cover : 2.5/5
Title : 2.5/5
Blurb : 4/5
Theme : 4/5
Story : 3.5/5
Characters : 4.5/5
Value for money: 4.5/5
Overall : 4/5
This book, a fun trip through India—with all the peculiar experiences of the country, has the ingredients to intrigue, the spice to savour, and the nuggets of reflection to delight!
Meet the characters of Chand TV and Changa Times—Madam Chandni, Mr. Chatu, Mr. Raja Chata, voluptuous Ms. Kitry Kat; and the others—the boyfriend Runny Singh, Tinuji, swashbuckling Mr. Anal Manbee, Jamal and the Mangoman. Watch their lives intertwining with the young and lively Ambling Indian’s, as they navigate through the lanes, bylanes, gallis, and mohallas that make up much of India. Coast through Bollywood, the elite Indian Institutes of Technology and the Indian Institutes of Management—hallowed Oxbridges of the East; weddings, politics, and modern offices. Duck and dive as you avoid the cows, potholes, and street dogs. Celebrate the functions and everything else that is the substance of modern India; chaotic yet captivating. Sit back, brace yourself for a quirky, rollicking auto rickshaw ride, and lose yourself in time as you travel with the aam aadmi (the common man). Discover an India like you have never seen before— through the mirror of the Ambling Indian, Aina; who discovers an unknown side of herself too.
Ambling Indian by Aina Rao is a collection of thoughts that go through the protagonist Aina’s mind as she moves on through her daily chores, amused and wondered by the interesting things that happen in and around India. It is very clear in the beginning itself that this is a work of fiction inspired from real experiences because the incidences seem realistic but the character names are very fictional. I reason I say this is because the names are very funny. The way Aina has picked up the character names, aligning them so well with the situation and their alliterate nature is something that cracked me up.
India is a land of diversity and anyone who has attempted to describe its uniqueness hasn’t been able to pen it in a few number of pages. However, Aina has broken all barriers by summing up everything about India in a mere 163 pages. She has picked up common topics like Valentine’s day, Indian weddings, Diwali, tax paying, etc which are perfect to portray the typical Indian mentality and how we are progressing at that; picking up a few western cultures along the way. I particularly loved the idea of Wedding on Wheels mentioned in the book. It had me roll on the floor laughing, not literally though 😀
The only part about the book which let me down is the ambiguity whether it is a continuous story or just a collection of stories / incidences. It seems like the latter initially, only to realize towards the climax that the stories are actually connecting and presenting a whole picture. Maybe this part can be clarified in the beginning itself instead of mentioning that it is a collection of experiences as Aina ambles through the varied situations and incidences.
The cover picture of the book is apt to the content. The editor has done a terrific job in polishing the script, be it the font, the paragraphs or the narrations. Everything has been grouped perfectly and provides ease of reading. Uniqueness in attempting satire at something so uncommon yet common gives this book and edge over the others. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this impressive narration. Simple yet catchy story, perfect grammar and a blend of today’s India are the highlights of this book.
A bold, impressive & unique attempt at satire on India (4/5)
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Click here to read Aina Rao’s interview by me.
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