Two words – and the gist is yours.
It makes us at home with both tongue-in-cheek and slapstick.
I behold it on my tongue, swirl with an indulgent flourish and soak in the beveled sting. Playful thought bubbles ignite every nook of my senses like glow worms lighting up a misty jar.
These thought bubbles set off a into a flush of inspiration and impregnates a virgin pocket of intellect in my mind; the mind, in turn, sputters with warm, creative rejoinders. I heave the contented sigh of a satiated puppy who has just lapped up a bowl of porridge and is now ready to curl up in cloud-cuckoo-land.
It’s a book, which snob-schoolers apparently studied in their fifteens, but I’ve got down to reading only now, in my fifty'eens (as a commitment to my book club).
I found the chapter horribly unfunny back then. My mind clearly had not been pollinated with Brit humor yet.
NEVER forgave the podgy Uncle Podger for the fiasco.
This unexpected confrontation brought back memories of being bludgeoned by my English teacher for drawing up a clumsy character-sketch of an apparently ‘clumsy character.’ I instantly took a vicarious dislike for JKJ – blaming him for the dressing down that I was given by my principal in front of my mom, some four decades back.
Wearing shades (pre-coloured with judgment) over my reader’s eye I jumped paragraphs, chided narrative, scoffed the content and accused JKJ’s jokes as lacking rib-tickle.
So was I. I became kind, forgiving, and receptive. The jokes thereon became smile-worthy; the content time-worthy.
The bubbly started tingling afresh my mind's palate.
It is also the anchor on which JKJ’s forte hangs. He lets loose air-brushed anecdotes into the narrative, with relish – and flourish. and seems to sink into slumber.
Inconsistent narrative mars the parts where JKJ seems to recall his mission of writing a travelogue, not a joke book. Abruptly, almost as if guilty of enjoying himself too much, he switches to a 'laden-with-meaning' poetic discourse. This switch is a bait to keep the literati hooked on to the boat, I suspect. Here, JKJ seems to virtually struggle to inject some STORY into the story. You are yanked out of one thought flow and thrown into another. No caveat. No warning. Such switches are jarring. A little rude too. Sometimes an overkill with tale after tale after tale, steps on the tail of the narrative and smothers movement.
IS worth a read, though it ain’t ‘humongously humorous,’ I'd say. Three Men on a BoatYour liking the book also depends on whether Brit wit is your cuppa, or not. If it is, raise a toast. If it isn’t, well, raise your standard.