Millennium Post

Please ma’m, wham bam?

Please ma’m, wham bam?
Going by common human experience, a bright young man of humble beginnings is supposed to rise to success and alleviate his parent’s sufferings and make them proud. So why wasn’t it happening to me?...It must be my bad karma!’ We’ll tell you what it is, Monsieur Singh, you lack tact, charm and the good humour that might get you to bed women and get and keep a job that makes you decently famous so as you can bed more women.

Sherarat E Singh’s novel is his story from small town Masti to Angers in France. Singh is by no means a whiz-kid or a diamond-in-the-rough. He loves his music and he learns his French and after coaxing and cajoling his father and
mama
for the money, Singh makes it to a tourism school in France. What would he do with a degree in tourism, well my guess is as good as yours.

India, clearly held little fascination for Singh. He chases his French Dream to foreign shores and does all he can with his (seriously) limited capacity to stay on. He ultimately resorts to marrying a French girl. End of story.

Monsieur Singh’s... is an endless rant on how odds are stacked against a bright, talented, hard-working Indian. He works shitty jobs, tries endless get-rich-quick formulae, sulks, cribs and all along tries to get into the pants of French women all around him. We were hoping that by the end of it all Singh would turn into a complete playboy, get a job he likes and therefore stop sulking. He doesn’t. And, that perhaps the only good thing about the book. It is not a success story. No one, would want to be Monsieur Singh in Angers, even with a wonderful French wife.

Singh is the quintessential Indian man, pampered amply by his mother, he believes he will get lucky at the drop of his turban. Half the sexcapades described are just funny, his sweeping gestures, his odd French  and his falling in love when no forever exists. It is painful.

Unfortunately for the author, this brand of sexcapades have been done to death. This Tristram Shandy like narrative is something Singh perhaps tries, but fails. His desire to be that exotic Indian guy everyone wants to sleep with crashes right out of Europe. Ok, there are some women who do want to sleep with him, but they are few and far in between.

It almost seems that Singh is like a boy in a candy story (replace candy with derriere and a boy with a sex-starved man) without money. No one wants to give. Singh came to France to get laid, and while he is at it, he knows he needs money to stay on and for that he needs work. His love for jazz and poetry run alongside and that lends some colour to the character. But on a whole Monsieur Singh... is terribly unpalatable.

If there was to be a book about that Indian guy who does whatever it takes to get out of the country, go to another one, because, well, the women are easy and they might find Indian men more exotic. They do come with their Bollywood romance, their
chai
and their ‘massages’! But French women seem to be wanting none of that. And that leaves Singh a disgruntled puppy who no one wants to play with.

While this can be one of those books – ‘it-is-so-bad that-it-is-good’ but we advise otherwise. Don’t read it. It is no fun. No real fun in trying to break through the narrative, the tone and the style to come up with a sparkling piece of work that you may want to pass on to another book lover. The book leaves you with nothing. I clearly am not going to pass it on to someone else. My sincere apologies to the editor who slaved behind this. I would shudder to read the first draft of this one. Monsieur Singh... becomes a story of Indians who leave the country, marry someone from the newly adopted country and stay on keeping up with odd jobs. Being a loser is no great deed, and perhaps Singh could have titled it as Monsieur Singh’s pile of Losses - would have worked.
Jhinuk Sen

Jhinuk Sen

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