This may give the impression that I just read two books in the span of a week. To clarify, I am often in the middle of reading five to six books at a time. It is called attention deficit disorder, it is something that most of us suffer from in this wretched age of social media, and it is definitely not something I am too proud of.
Miss Laila, Armed and Dangerous, is the third Manu Joseph book I’ve read, following Serious Men and Illicit Happiness Of Other People. Both the prior reads were hilarious, thought provoking, and, most of all, left me often open-mouthed at some mind blowing sentences that should deserve theses of their own, seemingly left carelessly strewn around each book. Like, “is a male feminist allowed to watch pole dancing?” And, “why do people say ‘a ton of bricks’ to signify ‘a great weight’, when a ton of feathers would weight exactly the same?” It is sentences like these that make me shut the book every few pages, just to soak in their glory. Somehow, to me, these sentences – that unfailingly leave me wildly amazed at their beauty and slightly afraid I’ll never write as well – will always be the major attraction of any Manu Joseph novel.
Miss Laila is a highly political novel, with thinly veiled correlations with real people and incidents, no disclaimer withstanding. And I’m going to take the cowardly (or perhaps the wise) way out and not comment on the author’s politics here. To each their own. Suffice to say that if you wish to read more of the sampling below, do check out the books. My order of preference coincides with the chronology of the books – Serious Men, Illicit Happiness, and then, Miss Laila.
” ‘I won’t wash the panties of your daughter, she is not a kid anymore.’ The maid said ‘panties’ in English. Father got upset when he heard sister wore panties. The boy agrees that there is something very vulgar and sexual about the word ‘panties’. Father ran out of his room, clenched his fists, and screamed at the maid, ‘Never ever say that my daughter wears panties!’