Karl Aaj aur Kal

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This reads like a book Cyrus Broacha wrote in between shoots of MTV Bakra and other shows. Possibly he smoked some pot before penning each chapter, and shared the grass with his publishers at Random House India. Filled with zany characters, comic heavyweight (literally) Cyrus Broacha goes where no Indian writer has gone before…into the far-reaching territories of ‘anti-Booker’ land. 

The book barely has plot, at least not a linear one. If I asked you to graph it with a flowchart you’d have a tough time. It could’ve been maddeningly funny but the only issue is it is extremely tough

a) For an author, to sustain this level of humour

b) For a reader, to read 250+ pages of continuous humour 

I am sure at some point even the most genteel soul would fling the book across the room calling it ‘pure drivel’.

As a humour writer, reader and fan of all things comic, I felt I could appreciate the book best if I read it in fits and spurts. I set aside fifteen minutes before bedtime to read a paragraph or two.

Even reading a few pages at a time got me frustrated into yelling, ‘Come on! Get on with the story already!’ 

It’s time I introduced another august personage into my narrative. He was about six feet tall thanks to his four inch heels. His trousers were too tight to have been put on him using conventional means. They must have been stitched on him after he stood upright. 

The august personage introduced above is ‘Masterji or Sylvester Sir, Masterji because he was the fight master…’ 

The other problem with this kind of book is it would’ve been tough for him to snag any celebrities to endorse it, containing as it does a famous film actor called Yusuf Khan who insists on only playing characters named Rohit. Cyrus spoofs the entire film fraternity in hilarious episodes, like where the action master mismanages a fight and loses the inner heels of his shoes: 

Two pages after his introduction, Masterji’s direction of a fight sequence goes awry when an adoring crowd mistakes the fake actor-goons as real goondas. At that point: 

By the time the misunderstanding may have been cleared, it was too late. Masterji’s shirt, shoes, and reputation were in the gutter, and while you can replace a shirt and a reputation, four-inch high-heeled silver shoes with pointed fronts are directly irreplaceable. 

I am proud to say I did finish the book, down to the last Author’s Note:

Much against my will, and under severe duress, I have been coerced into writing this book. If I am found dead by the end of it, please arrest the publisher forthwith. 

I hate not finishing books, no matter how meandering they may be. The first few days I read almost a chapter a day, but then quickly latched on to this technique of reading it in such small bits and pieces that I wouldn’t get easily frustrated. 

Read another review here. And an excerpt here.
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  1. Hi Gargi…thanks for dropping by my blog. Looking forward to connecting with you.
    I too hate not finishing books, and some books really test my patience. I often wonder how were they chosen for publication?


  2. I agree, Rachna. This one really tested me throughout its 250-odd pages, but I guess it was chosen based on the author’s existing fan-following.

    I loved reading the writing-related posts on your blog. Will be checking in often, as I am looking to start my third novel.


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