Mrs Funnybones is a book that makes you feel happy and light in the end but still leaves you with a weird sense of zeal and inspiration that propels you forward.
Though I cannot relate to life as the protagonist, Ms. Khanna doesn’t make it any less funny. It’s hilarious and brilliantly so – funny and self-deprecating, the blatant allusions make you gawk at first and then burst out into fits of laughter. You’d find some jokes too cliché, but then the book as a whole is a healthy mix of all emotions, humor taking the throne.
Early in the book, Ms. Khanna says, “I am always chronically sleep deprived and my entire day whizzes by running in circles.” The only thing that crossed my mind as I read this was, “Yeah, I know exactly what you are trying to say!”
Mrs Funnybones has generous dollops of dry wit and sarcasm that makes you do a double take – and then you begin laughing in disbelief. It is intense and inspiring in some places (“The few who push themselves are the ones who succeed.”), perfectly points out how some traits can be incurably irritating and adorably endearing at the same time, and amidst all the humor, brings out questions that need answers but haven’t received any till date (The world has only debated but not reached consensus on them). Twinkle Khanna has the knack to make you think deeply as well as laugh at the same time.
Here are the quotes that have stuck with me and that I’m sure I’m not going to forget in a jiffy:
- “I wish we lived like children. Run till you are out of breath, flop on the grass, stare at clouds, jump up again, chase a squirrel around every tree in the park, walk on your hands because the world looks different upside down, climb little hills and roll down the other side, do somersaults…just because you can. What do we do instead? We surround ourselves with all these big and small blinking screens, while our bodies and minds slowly forget how to tumble, how to wonder, how to live.”
- “We Indians are a strange race; we send MOM to Mars, but listen to mom-in-law and look for the moon. One of the better qualities we possess is that most of us will follow traditions and rituals as long as they do not demean or harm us, or cause us to do the same to another, while making our elders happy. We simply do it rather than prove a point as to how liberated and independent we truly are. Perhaps this is how we harmoniously hold our large families together as we celebrate different aspects of our lives.”
- “’Love’ is multilayered, convoluted and as imperfect as all human emotions, It is not your heart beating fast when you look at him or constantly wanting to be with the other person. Love in any relationship, family, an intimate friendship, is only about putting the other person’s needs ahead of your own, and that, my friend, is just as simple and as complex as you make it.”
- She brings in the issue of gender equality too, but with such humor that you laugh at it, but in the end the message is delivered. Who wouldn’t laugh at: “Our little satellite reached Mars because it was called MOM. If it was called DAD, it would still be circling the Earth, lost, but not willing to ask for directions.”
- Little shots of thoughtfulness from time to time: “We come from darkness, live for a short while in a blaze of light and sound and go back into darkness. Yet day after day, we go on pretending that we and our loved ones are immortal.”
The chapter following this last quote focuses on how young people resort to suicides. And it is so poignantly written that it is difficult to not allow yourself to give in to the barrage of thoughts and ‘How true’s and ‘Wow’s drifting through your mind.
- I don’t know what middle age is because I’m not there yet, but come to think of it, Ms. Khanna puts it quite beautifully. “The future we dreamed about is a place that we now firmly inhabit, so we spend a little more time looking over our shoulder at the beguiling sepia-coloured postcards from our past where we once stood before an esoteric world of myriad prospects and were mesmerized at the possibilities it held…”
Mrs Funnybones is the perfect blend of humor, thoughtfulness, and perfect advice. Despite Twinkle Khanna being from such a prolific family, she shows in the book how everyone is similar in most facets, only the scale is different.
I loved the book! Perfect for a light read when you really don’t want anything heavy for the mind!