A collection of Tickling Humour and Prickling Satire
Author: Biswajit Banerji
Cover Design: The Book Bakers
Page Count: 151
Happimess is a collection of naughty stories that make us laugh while constantly poking fun at social peculiarities. Narrated mostly in the first person, the stories center around everyday situations that get oddly tangled up.
Once frantic efforts are made to wriggle out, things only get more messy. Flippant and irreverent, the net of satire is cast wide, spanning conspiring home-appliances, outlandish diseases, nosy insurance agents, die-hard hagglers, a botched farewell speech and the like.
It is the constant undercurrent of funny disorderliness that serves to spice-up and unite the stories.
Warning: This book may cause laughter, which may be disruptive in certain public places such as hospitals, public meetings, prayer halls, etc. Please consider reading in a more appropriate setting to avoid causing discomfort to those around you. As a personal anecdote, I read this book in a hospital and my uncontrollable laughter garnered some disapproving looks.
Happimess is a collection of humorous short stories drawn from familiar everyday life anecdotes. What makes these stories so appealing is their relatability and the sardonic tone of the author, capturing experiences that we all share but often don’t express.
The author, Biswajit Banerji’s wit is evident from the Dedication and Introduction all the way to the Author’s Bio at the end.
“What’s remarkable about Happimess is how the stories take experiences that we might find irritating or frustrating and turn them into the lifeline of the book. From electrical appliances going haywire to haggling gone wrong, or pestering insurance agents or pesky neighbours, we’ve all experienced these things. However, the author’s exaggerated expressions brimming with satire and humour will make us take these experiences in a lighter vein next time, finding amusement in what once caused us annoyance.”
The narrative is in the first person, and the character sketches are spot on, reminding us of someone from our own circle. In addition, the author presents some brilliant ideas for common problems, such as the ‘Marriage Tolerance Test’ or the trick of inflicting insult without injury that the author learned from a friend and generously shares with us.
One story in particular that is sure to crack you up is the ‘Haggler’s Manual,’ which is full of typos. (Note: If you’re not familiar with the term ‘haggling,’ it means bargaining, which is something we, as Indians, are experts at.) Here’s a sample:”
- Haggling is the king of fart-forms that ultimately leaves no bad taste in the behind, both for the buyers as well as the sellers. Price negotiations continue till both parties are mutually frustrated and one of them passes out to seal the deal.
- Hagglers must leave their shelf-respect and pride outside when they enter any shop for haggling. Only then can they come out victoriass with smiling faeces and be successpool.
Overall, this debut book of the author Biswajit Banerji delivers the promised laughter, though, in some places, the writing can feel a little verbose. However, the exaggerations make up for it, and it’s definitely a worthwhile read.
I highly recommend this book for an effective dose of laughter, making it an ideal travel companion.
P.S. Meanwhile, I am just trying to unsee/unread the following lines from the book, especially the last verse that takes its inspiration from one of my favourite poems, Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening by Robert Frost.
The lines from the book:
Mr. Rao is pained by the general apathy to haggling. But he is not one to give up easily and further reiterates in a handout, “A true haggler never throws in his bowel and he has promises to keep and piles to go before he slips.”
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