Turds Of Gold
Author: Jugal Mody
Published by HarperCollins India
Genre: Quirky Satire
It's been a while since I read Satire, forget "Quirky Satire". This book is something that Ayushman Khuranna might make a movie about. I will be honest, the blurb fooled me for good. I thought I was going to be reading about some tantric of sorts(which I did, to some extent, but more on that later). To quote a line from the blurb, "A young 'freelance caregiver', Nikunj, discovers that he has the superpower to make anyone poop and with that poop, cure the person of any stomach ailments." I was completely unaware of what a freelance caregiver does and just assumed it must be some sort of conventional freelance job.
A freelance caregiver is a paid helper who regularly looks after a child or a sick, elderly, or disabled person. People with disabilities and the elderly enlisted his services to help them perform their daily activities, from bathing to enemas(google the term if you do not know what it means. DO NOT OPEN THE IMAGES). Nikunj here began his 'career' as a caregiver by looking after his father, Vipulbhai Gholte, who lost the functionality of many of his body parts after a clot in his bloodstream reached his brain. Vipulbhai used to work as an assistant to Dr. Garodia, a 'muscular puncturopathy therapist', don't bother googling this one. The 'doctor' made it up and is a scammer. The author's social commentory on these scam doctors and how the middle-class patients fall for them is brilliant. Vipulbhai is a 'bhakt' of Dr.Garodia for lack of a better term and prefers his treatment over conventional and clinically medically proven physiotherapy. Nikunj, barely graduated and jobless. is given the task of taking care of his disabled father, and he doesn't seem to mind it and seems to be a natural at it, even after taking some other caregiving jobs from friends and family. His specialty, however, which he soon discovers, is in giving people enemas, rather, making people poop. Apparently, he could make people poop by just using his voice, without any enema kits or expensive equipment. He starts making a good living for himself and his family from the caregiving gig and becomes famous for it. A friend and senior colleague of his, Dhiraj even says he might be the fabled 'Tatti Raja'(I kid you not). (I tied very hard to not burst out laughing several times while reading the book, but failed.)
The world that the author has set the book in also seems to be quite progressive in some ways. The women seem to be the earners in the family, the middle-class Gujarati family seems to have hyphenated the surname to represent both Gholte's and Butala's. One of Nikunj's best friends is Gay and another is from a socially backward caste and he seems to be 'dating' someone from a different religion. All this seemed a little too hard to digest, but hey, if this is actually happening somewhere in India, more power to these people.
While the book is quite funny, it does feel like the author is trying too hard in a few places, like overusing the word 'tatti' in places unnecessarily. Also, the plot moves a little too quickly in certain places. Nikunj also seems to worship Dr. Garodia and get frustrated with his sister and mother bad-mouthing him, to joining them a few paragraphs later; This pattern also seems to repeat in his relationship with Fehmida(which was totally unnecessary in the first place, in my opinion, his character did not need a love interest)
Overall a quick, light but intelligently funny book. (Not Wodehouse funny, but funny.)
Cost : Rs. 399/-
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