Genre: Children's, short stories, family, drama, adventure
Price: Rs 235 for paperback on amazon India and Rs 206.50 for Kindle edition
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Crazy Times With Uncle Ken by Ruskin Bond is set in an quaint little house in the idyllic hill town of Dehra in British India.
It is a collection of anecdotes from the author’s childhood vacations spent in his maternal grandmother’s house, complete with a mischievous monkey and other intriguing pets. The crows and ghosts residing in a peepal tree overlooking the yard make it amply clear that they consider themselves to be members of the family.
Every anecdote features Ruskin’s maternal uncle Ken, who has tried his hand at several vocations, but can never hold on to a job. Ruskin and Ken share a prickly and amusing relationship as they embark on various mini adventures, engage in battles of wits or simply prank each other.
Grandpa and Grandma are endearing characters, and aunt Ruby’s guest appearances are hilarious.
My favorite story was the one about the shenanigans of Pret, the mischievous ghost who wreaks havoc on the family after being rendered homeless when the public works department cuts down his peepal tree which overlooks the house’s yard. He moves in to live with the family and hilarity ensues as he develops a crush on one of the family members and enjoys tussling with another all the while using a the family parrot as his translator.
Aunt Ruby and her troubles with Tutu the monkey was oodles of fun, but the anecdote I liked best about Tutu was the one with Grandpa at the station. This had less to do with Tutu and more to do with Grandpa’s quirky sense of humor which adds significantly to the charm of many stories in the book.
This is a comfort read sure to make you smile, chuckle and then helplessly giggle with any troubles long forgotten, while grandma’s cooking stirs your appetite and her warmth heals your soul.