“a very exciting read, especially for children and young adults, who are losing the simpler pleasures of life, pursuing the bigger ones.”


This begins with a cracked bungalow that transforms into a happy haveli filled with children and ruled by Mataji and her husband the lawyer Panditji with a drive carpeted by silken parijat flowers. There is an echo of Gerald Durrell’s different houses here, with the rambunctious goings-on of various family members. Sarma has a gift for family narrative with an emphasis on vanishings. Her linked stories settle into tales of vanishing – toast, necklaces and the inside of eggs which create enough intrigue for the reader.

This is accompanied by all the attendant joint family politics of daughters in law and daughters because despite Panditji and Mataji’s firm rule, Mataji has her favourites and her bahus are not necessarily angels though one of them has the makings of an excellent lawyer, as a mock courtroom trial proves. For those familiar with the ways of sprawling homes, the book will be a voyage through nostalgia. For those to whom this world is new, there is enough to keep them turning the pages as they travel through a way of life that is fast vanishing, an escape from the stresses of the work harried modern world.


Reviewed by:

Anjana Basu

Added 18th December 2020

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Anjana Basu