Funny Stories is a collection of 8 stories, each written by a different author. They tell stories which will make you laugh. Whoever said that laughter was the best medicine, was right. It will scare your blues away.
The Boy Who Could Not Finish a by Nury Vittachi is a great title, literally. It is funny from the word go – the central character Jack Pavan, is a boy who can’t finish sentences. The dialogue is written in such a way that the reader can finish all his sentences. For some reason the words just don’t come out as sentences near completion. Tired of his inability to communicate, he decides to run away from his boarding school. His teachers try to get him back and discover unexpected things about him.
Xihu by Siddhartha Sarma is the story of a (mis)adventure. The river dolphin, locally called the Xihu, is an endangered species and the “River” is its ‘largest known natural habitat’. Five friends decide to go dolphin spotting, before it vanishes from the face of the earth, and shoot it for posterity with a camera. They choose the worst time possible, when the “River” is flooded. So these smart twelve-year-olds hatch a plan to go off on their adventure without telling anyone. However, unlike other children’s adventure stories, nothing goes according to plan. The story gives you the reality – of what, probably, really happens when we set out in search of adventure. The narrative cracks you up many times and sucks you right in. Sarma keeps it real, and the laughs come from the scrapes the kids get themselves into.
Kuzhali Manickavel’s Antonia California is named after a doll. As a little girl Anu considers the doll as her best friend. As she gets older and busy with school, like most girls, she forgets the doll. She wants to be a marine biologist when she grows up. Hence she reads up about sea creatures in the library and even has a pet fish. Little does she know that the doll has feelings, and an underwater adventure full of talking sea creatures awaits her. The touch of magical realism and the author’s quirky sense of humor keeps you engaged till the end.
The Rider by Harsha Dandapani takes us to a classroom where a boring history lesson is in progress, and a boy named GK is late to class. As his teacher drones on about the Battle of Plassey, he begins to nod off. But something odd is happening. He is dreaming in broad daylight, and to his surprise, it’s the same dream from the night before. Why is there a camel in his dream and how is the camel speaking better English than him? He is confused. He lives with his parents and ailing grandfather who doesn’t speak, yet, he is sure that he had heard him mumble something about a camel. The story is funny and makes you want to be a child again, when all you had to do was worry about school.
The Artist by Anushka Ravishankar is about a young girl who hated art. A visit by an Art Expert to her school appears to have changed something in her. Now a famous artist, on being asked about her work by an interviewer, the Artist faints. Why is she reluctant to speak about her craft? How did a girl who didn’t know how to paint when she was young, achieve such a transformation? The mysteries unravel and the ironical end will leave you stupefied.
The Limpet Division by Kaushik Vishwanath is about two warring groups, The Limpets and The Whelks (There is an interesting backstory to their names.), fighting each other because they are “equallest” to each other. It makes adults appear sillier than children, especially in the current climate of unending war and retaliation. The story draws its laughs from puns and humour bordering on nonsense
Tale of the Giantess by Vivek Tandon is about how the court jester actually becomes the fool, taken in by the silken words of the Giantess. Flattered by her praise and fooled by her apparent friendliness, he tells her jokes not realizing the danger he is in. The adage, ‘fools rush in where angels fear to tread’, is true. The visual imagery is good but the irony might be lost on children.
The Not-so-great Bank Robbery by Indrajit Hazra is a comedy of errors. Raju ‘Goody Two-Shoes’ is tired of his goodness and wants to do something bad to shake off this tag of goodness. He thinks of doing something big and decides to rob a bank to prove a point. Nothing could be “badder” than that because he works in a bank. What happens when a good man, who hasn’t even lied to his mother, sets out to rob the bank he works at?
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- The book is appealing because of its intelligent humour, and it helps that none of the stories are preachy.
- The stories, where children are the protagonists, transport you back to your school days.
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- Since they are written for a young audience, some of the stories could have been much shorter.
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- I’m a big fan of stories that make you smile, chuckle or laugh out loud. I admire authors who can make your life lighter without appearing to do much. It appears effortless on the page, but laughter is serious business.
A fun romp to keep the blues away.