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Cantilevered Tales Tells Calcutta Stories To Bridge Many Issues, Laced With Humor

Rita Bhimani

At the launch of Jayant Kripalani’s Cantilevered Tales at Starmark on 26 May 2017, it was a packed, standing room only audience which listened to the exchange of banter and juicy excerpts from the book. The publisher of the book, Dipankar Mukherjee had flown in from Delhi − reaffirming the faith that the publishing house started by him, Readomania, had put in the author.

Jayant Kripalani, who is now based in Calcutta, is a well known face on television, stage and in films too, the TV appearances that have been most compelling being Khandaan, Ji Mantriji , Mr. Ya Mrs, and a notable cameo role in Three Idiots, among others.  His last book New Market Tales got theatrically produced, not only on stage, but in front of the iconic New Market.

At the launch, the writer and television personality Kishore Bhimani kicked it off with humorous anecdotes about Jayant, whom he had known for many decades, while Corporate Public Relations veteran Rita Bhimani was in conversation with the author, in an hour long sparring match that brought out the essential aspects of the book and its down-to-earth characters who, as the author said “you want to reach out and protect but you discover are more than capable of taking care of not just themselves, but of you, too.”

The book gets its kickstart on a bus ride across Howrah Bridge by the protagonist, a bureaucrat, with a zamindari background,  with a reticent man who goes on to play an important part in the book. As do a host of people who are the salt of the earth, with names like Chingri kaka and Banshi Mama and Haren and the thinly disguised adman called in this book Alec Padmanabhan or Oleek Babu. There is a matter of trying to save the Santragachi waterbody from an unscrupulous builder, but this is not a “builder versus helpless citizen” story. It is full of humor, and pathos, with a lilting style. Its back stories are the real attraction, as are its well-described settings, from Calcutta to faraway Himachal.

The session rollicked and the audience, comprised of authors, actors, filmmakers, and the author’s own family members, kept the evening at a humorous high with their special questions.