Through highs and lows

In If It Is So Sweet, Mridula Koshy tells stories that often remain untold, stories of the silent strains within households, of fallible people and their lives. If It Is So Sweet is a tightly controlled insight into the colourful lives of people. The author demands that the reader thinks, and the book is definitely not one to be trifled with. However, in return, the reader is compelled to view various simple stories and incidents from seemingly impossible angles. The experience is enriching, as Mridula Koshy draws the discerning reader into plots, sub-plots and tangents, as she moves from one to the other with ease.

The first story of the collection, ‘The Good Mother’ is a startling introduction to the author’s style of writing, about a woman on a pilgrimage after the death of both her sons. The pain of the mother is almost tangible within the writing, and makes every word a bittersweet rendering of the harsh reality of life.

‘-3-2-1, First Time’ is one of the most touching stories in the book, about adolescent love, and how it isn’t as commonplace as one may think. Dominic and Kaavi enter a special place together, without a heed for the consequences and the style of writing seems to draw special attention to how their lives could get turned on its head because of their actions.

‘Romancing the Koodawalla’ is unique in that it has so many layers. As you read, you peel the layers and slowly discover the characters, their flaws and their greatness’. The story is poignant and the readers will wish that things had gone differently with Mona. Yet, there is an inherent drama in her situation that makes it acceptable, and yes, entertaining to read about.

 ‘The Companion’ tells the tale of an old lady, whose companion is not the run-of the mill human kind. The story, though makes you suspend disbelief more than once, is carefully and deliberately written, in a manner that allows the reader to empathise with both, the lady, as well as her companion.
The other startling piece is ‘Jeans’, not only because it is extremely topical, but also for the sheer audacity of the manner in which it is written. The story screams for attention, and gets it! ‘Jeans’ takes the conventional manner of tale-telling and turns it inside out, successfully, and refreshingly. A must read for anyone with an eye for the unusual.

At the other extreme is ‘Today is the Day’, a day-by-day account of the life of a servant in an upper-middle class Delhi household. This tale is made wonderfully different through the introduction of Chachiji, whose mannerisms and eccentricities drive the household crazy. Chachiji holds the story together through the familiarity that her character inspires in the readers.

In this manner, the book takes you through highs and lows, through fire and water, all the while forcing you to empathise with the characters. If It Is Sweet is a dramatic book, written with great flair and insight. However, Mridula Koshy’s book could be a daunting read for some. Even so, it is a must-read, purely for its beautiful detailing. It inspires the reader to look beyond the obvious and into the depths of what may have otherwise seemed familiar and understandable.

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