Tuesday, 17 January 2012

Book Review: “The Average Indian Male” by Cyrus Broacha

Everyone has heard of Cyrus Broacha. Show me an adult living in any of the Indian metros who hasn’t heard of Broacha and I will show you someone who is deaf and blind. In addition to being a stand-up comedian and a prankster, Broacha is also an actor (TV and films) and a writer. Over 2 years ago, Broacha’s first book Karl, Aaj aur Kal, a semi-autobiographical tongue-in-cheek, witty write-up about cabbages and kings, Bollywood and men in power, was released. Last year Broacha’s second book The Average Indian Male came out and it’s been on my reading list ever since.

The Average Indian Male has satire and it’s typical Broacha satire, poking fun at all and sundry, pointing out faults in a manner that has you in splits. However, it would be incorrect if I said The Average Indian Male has only satire and nothing but satire. For when Broacha pokes fun at the average Indian male, he does have an unerring aim, managing to hit all the right spots. It’s all in there – the Indian male’s propensity to hold hands (with other Indian males), to pick his nose (in the presence of other Indian males and females), to fart (also in the presence of a number of people) to stare, to pee in the open, to demand that his wife perform/provide/protect just like his mummy and to do a number of other routine things.

In addition to holding up a mirror to the average Indian male, Broacha also gently shines a light on Indian society as a whole. For example Broacha says, ‘Know your place’ is like a game – when any Indian meets a fellow Indian, we immediately decide to adopt an inferior or superior stance. A fellow Indian is either below you or above you in the social scale, never equal. Let’s look at this chart/ Father/mother, above you. Children, below you. Mr. Sharma, your neighbour, who is older, above you. Mrs. Sharma who is younger, below you.

A pigeon, below you. A cow, above you. A God you’ve heard of, definitely above you. A God you haven’t heard of, still above you. A normal building, below you. A religious structure, above you. The sun, moon and stars above you. People in a village in the Sunderbans, below you. ....... Your driver, below you. A famous driver like Lewis Hamilton, above you........’

A small number of the wise-cracks do fall flat, but that’s likely to vary from reader to reader. All in all, this a very good book, worth every paise one pays for it.

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