I was excited to receive Twinkle Khanna’s latest book ‘Welcome to Paradise’ from Juggernaut Books for review.
It is a collection of five short stories named:
- The Man from the Garage
- Let’s Pretend
- Nearly Departed
- Welcome to Paradise
- Jelly Sweets.
In the first story, ‘The Man from the Garage’, Huma has to look into the funeral arrangements for her mother, “Amma.” It proves to be complicated because her mother has had an inter-caste marriage. It was an inter-caste marriage between an Ismaili Muslim woman and a Gujarati Hindu man.
The other characters, Padma Ben (Huma’s aunt) and Murad (Amma’s geriatric nephew) are shown debating whether Amma should be cremated or buried.
We are introduced to Sara, who is Huma’s daughter, and “The Man from the Garage.” We get a peek into a drug addict’s life, the unpredictability of character and behavior, the violent streak, the dependence – the whole picture. We also understand the effect it has on others. The dysfunctional family dynamics often lead to whispers and murmurs about that “crazy Shroff family.”
It causes rage and anger issues in the daughter of the family. Although the issues addressed in the story are rather grim, Twinkle has a lightness of touch, and I did not feel low or depressed after reading this story.
I read a few reviews of the book that are out on the Internet and learned that some of the stories are loosely based on real-life characters. Also in 2022, Twinkle Khanna went on to pursue her master’s degree in fiction writing at Goldsmiths, University of London, and she received an exceptional distinction for her final dissertation, earning her a spot on the long list for the prestigious Pat Kavanagh Prize. ( Thank you, Wikipedia, for these details.)
Each of her four books is unique and makes for interesting reading.