Author: Chhimi Tenduf-La
Publisher: Hachette India
It is not often we come by an amazing read which makes us wish to shout "I loved it". I didn't carter much expectation on this debut novel and was not at all amused by the pranks of Menaka and Eddie (immature love birds, I thought) in the first half of the novel. Good that I didn't give up, by the time you reach the middle there is no going back; Things have perked up and we could never resist loving Thilak Rupasinghe or Uncle Thilak as I would like to call him. By the end I really missed him along with Eddie and Kiki. No one can replace those crackling wit and a soft heart hidden behind a rough exterior and an unpredictable mouth.
Giving the impression of a love story, the novel soon changes its direction to the deep bonding between the quiet English man and his barking father-in-law. Set in Sri Lanka, it gives a satiric insight into the aristocratic life style, their extravagance and faulty charity initiatives. But what makes it worthwhile is the character of Uncle Thilak who is scared by all but loved by his granddaughter, Kiki. Author's wife Samantha and his daughter Tara too makes a brief appearance in between which makes it all the more amusing. All in all a hilarious read for the holidays!!!
Eddie Trusted, an English school teacher lands in Colombo for a teaching assignment where he falls in love with the Sri Lankan beauty Menaka Rupasinghe. Within weeks of acquaintance, they decide to marry but Thilak Rupasinghe, Menaka's scary father is set against the white man. He tries fierce and friendly manners -- treating him as a servant, making him sleep out in the verandah on their weekly trip together and offering him the job of an accountant which was illegal and would have deported him -- but Eddie stays put and succeeds in marrying Menaka with Thilak's blessings.
While Prabhakaran gets shot, Menaka gives birth to their daughter Kiki. Soon she is off to many of her charity trips leaving Kiki in the hands of Eddie who finally resigns his teaching position to be a full time parent. Uncle Thilak, with his taunting humour turns out to be an unusual partner for him.
As expected Menaka starts the divorce proceedings and Eddie decides to run away with the child as court in all probability will side with Menaka when it comes to the possession of the girl. On boarding the flight he is informed that Uncle Thilak is dying and is asking for Kiki. Eddie goes back and Thilak dies that night after giving instruction to him as to how to bring up Kiki.
His will leaves half of his wealth to his eldest son and a quarter each is given to Menaka and Eddie. Nothing is left to Kiki and as Uncle Thilak expected Menaka didn't attempt to get her daughter. Eddie marries Caroline and his bond with Kiki gets even deeper.
Half English, half Tibetan, Chhimi Tenduf-La grew up in Hong Kong, London, Delhi and Colombo, where he now lives with his wife, Samantha, and daughter Tara. This is his first novel.
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