Our Nana Was a Nutcase – Ranjit Lal

Our Nana was a nutcase - Ranjit Lal

A health break seems to have its benefits. One tends to look at things with a new perspective and that is what happened to me with this book. It was only because it is my favourite author Ranjit Lal’s book that I picked it. He did not disappoint me.

Our Nana was a Nutcase is the story of Nana, a retired army surgeon, living in Shadow House in Mahaparbatpur with his four grandchildren Avantika, Harshita and the twins Niharika and Nihal, rechristened General Gosling, Duckling, Dumpling and Dingaling Enterprises pvt. ltd respectively by Nana. Mama and Papa are top bureaucrats, who have no time for the children and live in Delhi.

Nana is ably supported by the family help the Chakram brothers and their wives NeeraMeerabais (as the children like to refer to them) . The story is a first person account from the view of Avantika as to what happened in their lives when Nana starts to have symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease.

Nana, who has a bizarre sense of humour, and kindness underlying all his actions, is very popular amongst the children and their friends. When Nana starts forgetting things, first apparently small things, which the children think are Nana’s tricks and then serious things, the children sense that the world around them is starting to collapse. With the help of Shabnam Aunty, who works with Nana in the General Hospital and whom Nana would like to marry, they try to help Nana face his future.

But, when Nana’s state worsens, Mama decides to move him to a home, have the children put in a boarding school and sell Shadow House, Gosling is not able to take it lying down. She decides to take matters in her hands along with Duckling. Does she succeed in protecting her world? Read this exciting and fun book to find more.

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  1. A serious issue that is becoming common in today’s world. In fact, as I was reading this, I was discussing a very similar case of a dear one in the family, because of which I could relate to the issue and the plot very well. A timely reading for me. For all readers, particularly the younger ones, it might be a good starting point to think about these things, and how they would tackle such issues.
  2. The underlying humour that runs throughout the book, which is characteristic of Mr. Lal’s books, helps in lightening the mood on an otherwise serious issue.
  3. The setting: I cannot stop admiring the setting and characterization. Many of Mr. Lal’s books are set in a sleepy village at the foothills of the Himalayas and so is this. The setting and characterization of Nana and the children and their neighbours make it an engaging and fun read.
  4. The Rainbow Villa. How I wish I had access to such a place!
  5. Shabnam Aunty’s presence and characterization seems to be a deliberate attempt to break a few societal norms.
  6. The twins, their enterprise and eventually their attempts to test Nana’s memory are endearing.

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  1. Disappointed, is the least I can say, about the ridiculously cinematic ending that can be. I don’t want to give it away further, but I can’t believe that both of them decided to do that. It does not align with the characterization in the rest of the story.

Nut for thought!

A copy of this book was given me by the publishers, Red Turtle, in return for an honest review. Thanks Red Turtle.

Book Details:

Title Our Nana was a Nutcase
Amazon Paperback
Flipkart Paperback
Editor(s)/Author(s)/Illustrator(s)/Translator(s) Ranjit Lal
Publisher Rupa - Red Turtle

About Menaka S

Menaka is a computational linguist by education, an optimist by attitude and a dreamer by how she spends her time. Being left-brained, she runs PlusMinus'n'More to indulge her right brain interests.

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