Illogical comic entertainment – Karl, aaj aur Kal
Only the celebrated TV anchor Cyrus Broacha (who proclaims that he refuses to grow up) knows how to convert his talent of ‘making-the-bizarre-look-humorous’ into an illogical, but seamlessly written humorous short novel. It is difficult to describe the narrative of Karl, aaj aur Kal. Some might even say that it does not have any. Yet one cannot stop laughing after going through its pages. If it is possible to put it in one word, then ‘wacky’ perfectly describes the narrative as well as the author of this book.
It is a unique story about the life of two young ordinary Mumbai boys Karl and Kunal. Two boys who after experiencing the days, which every student under the Indian education system experiences, go to the famous Lee Strasburg Acting Studio in US to learn acting and sharpen their craft of chasing girls. Two absolutely lucky idiots who then come back to India, and become huge stars with help of Yusuf Khan, who is already a romantic icon in Bollywood. The narrative moves forward with eventually Karl finding love of his life in Sophia and then his true final destination, i.e. to become a politician like the actors before him. He even gets an opportunity as the Pyjama Party nominee.
The novel is a very subtle sarcastic take on lives of Indian boys as they grow up, Bollywood stars, filmmakers and politics. Broacha provides all those looking for a brief escape from the established order a chance to embark on a chaotic rollercoaster ride mocking this order and its rationalized irrationality. Or to put it in simple words, if you are bored with intelligent conversations and intellectual discourses then you must grab this book as soon as possible. It is a short read which one must just enjoy with a tub of ice cream in hand and begin with a mind without rigidity and love for the normal around. The most unique feature about the novel is that it moves from one narration to another completely unrelated narration seamlessly, like most unexpectedly Broacha starts narrating the love tragedy and singing woes of Karl’s father in the middle of explaining Karl’s childhood love for acting or he starts linking random event like Yom Kippur War to his explanations. Further, those narrations are infused with the most bizarre and almost childlike elucidations like Karl has this talent of filling his nostril with three fingers at once a.k.a. the ‘Great Indian Nose Trick’. The book spells out raw humor, with some epic one-liners like – ‘Relationships are like under wears, the more you use them, the more comfortable they get’. It is said that a genius knows how to contextualize his mad ideas and Broacha must be credited as a genius who has attempted a form of narration which many young Indian writers today would not even dare to attempt. It is important that Indian writers explore more genres to give readers something different while they are browsing, something which appears to be unique but still indigenous to our society and culture.