Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Book review: 'Aisle Be Damned' by Rishi Piparaiya

Humour, in whatever form, has always been popular with the audience; everyone loves a good laugh. Unfortunately, it's not always easy to create and so the humourist is decidedly walking on thin ice until the applause is heard.   

Writing humour is no different. Barring the classics and few contemporary writers, one can hardly rely on anything else available in the market right now for comic relief.

That is why I was looking forward to reading Rishi Piparaiya's debut novel 'Aisle Be Damned'. Humour, intertwined with travel, can provide a huge scope for comedy.  

I was proved right. And wrong. 

Promoted as a mix of travel notes made by the author with a focus on airports and air travel, 'Aisle Be Damned' is exactly that: travel notes. Which isn't a problem. It has a very promising title and a good start and Piparaiya touches upon ALL aspects of flying - right from checking-in to getting through immigration and everything in between. 

But somewhere in the middle the book begins to read more and more like a collection of jokes and funny (and some not so funny) anecdotes. A little transition in between topics would have been appreciated. A bit smoother than just a lazy "Speaking of..."

Of course, there are some really funny moments. Like when he talks of the elbow-room fights: "A flight is just a subtle battle for elbow space." This is so true and therefore so funny. 

Unfortunately, the aforementioned 'moments' are few and far-between. The funnies that do stumble out from the book are very Dave Barry-esque. Even the layout and photographs with funny captions are reminiscent of Barry's books. Probably a fan too.

As for the flying tips, Piparaiya swings between genuine, practical tips and just plain hyperbolic flying pigs. For someone who has traveled extensively, I was expecting some real tips on flying well. 

Here's a tip of my own: If you're traveling in twos and want to fly comfortably, take the aisle and window seats. Chances of anyone taking the single middle seat are low (if the flight isn't full) and you may end up with all three seats!    

'Aisle Be Damned' might still be a good read while travelling though. And at Rs 250, it won't hurt you too much if you are by any chance disappointed. 

Check this site called Infibeam for more details on the book. It is offering a discount of 20% (Rs 50) on it.

About the writer: 
Rishi Piparaiya has worked in the banking sector and is currently the CMO of Aviva Life Insurance.
This 214-page book was supposedly titled 'How to Book and How to Fly' before he changed it to the final one. He finished the book in five weeks, working late nights and weekends. You can read more about him in an interview he did with afaqs.  
He also has a Facebook page for the book that gives more information on its availability, how to contact him and reviews. 

1 comment:

M Ghalib said...

Rishi Piparaiya has truly outdone himself and has shown himself to be a master of satire. He has shown great care and acute observational skills in picking the most annoying and embarrassing of things that happen in one's day to day exchange with the airport and it's queer inhabitants and projected them in a hilarious and thoroughly entertaining way. He has given an whole new outlook to the things that happen in and out of an airplane. Seriously who would have thought that my missing jacket was actually stolen by the Italian mafia.

Rishi uses a delicate and simple style of writing to convey his story and that too with an even flavor of humour and satire. There is a chance that his sense of humour, predominant his style of humour would come across as slapstick to some but it is undeniable that he got a suave way of making his readers laugh. Anyone who has ever been on a flight and anyone who has seen the way the various quirks of the aluminium tube that flies will find it interesting and can relate to it seamlessly. It is just an understatement to say that Rishi has outdone himself.

They book though randomly satirical, is not random at all in organization. The book is neatly edited and organized as in the order of which the events would occur in an actual flight, from take off to landing and this differentiate 'Aisle be damned' from a regular book of jokes and into a humorous page turner. I will though advice the ones who have not flown to keep away, you don't need to add to your aviatophobia do we and secondly most jokes would appear to be tasteless and blown up to a person who is unaccustomed with such an environment as an airport.

But for everyone else this is hilarious and light hearted, and would make your stomach hurt from laughing. I personally found the beginning and end to be rather bland and tasteless in nature as compared to the rest of it. I give the book a 'good' status and recommend it exclusively for all fliers, frequent and otherwise. The swaying hips awaits... *chuckle*.