Title: Mango Cheeks, Metal Teeth

Author: Aruna Nambiar

Publisher: Tranquebar / Westland Ltd.

ISBN: 9789383260546

Pages: 235

My Review

Mango cheeks, Metal Teeths by Aruna Nambiar is a reviving story from the era of the 80’s. Read it if you were born after eighties and donot miss if you were born during these years.

We all are blessed with our share of childhood memories, which are fully developed stories within themselves. Those days, those summer vacations, those afternoons full of mischiefs, those experiences during evening playtine hours, that turmoil on the way to self realization – such an eventful phase of life, it was. It’s not that today’s generation is anything less but sadly, that ‘magic’ is somehow missing from the digitally assisted lives. Undoubtedly, those visits to maternal relatives, those lazy afternoons, those quarrels were more reviving than today’s online chat sessions.

This story is about Geetha, who visits her village and this time its not a usual one. This visit becomes a life changing experience for her and witnesses change in her as a grown up and understanding person. Back in village, she descends from an affluent influential family. This time, she identifies and discovers herself. She is not alone on this jouney. Babu accompanies. Read this story to experience how they both come together but will they remain together?

The self explanatory and a descriptive book cover is a vital element of the book because it recreates that environment at its first glance itself. The matte finish gives a feel as if you are holding some paper from carefully stored precious itens of the past. The technicolor color scheme and the portraits used are all apt and connecting effectively. The special effect of planting trees in the background very easily suggests that this novel is about south India. The set up created using chair in yard area, grandparents shown busy in their chores and Geetha observing then all, sets the mood in right tone. You can even smell the moist air. 🙂

The characters are as contrasting as the title itself is. They are etched strong yet they are colorful with having their own shades of personalities. The descriptions are lively and you get transposed to those years almost instantly. The story is based on the backdrop of Babu’s sister’s marriage. What do you think, will their coming together jeopardise the family stakes or will they pay for their deeds? What and how?

All in all, this an intricate mesh work of emotional relations, years and experiences of adoloscense, achieving maturity and leaving innocense behind and an enriching journey of childhood to adulthood.

The author is a blessed published writer  her writing experience bestows her with drafting a easy read. She has captured the emotions of the characters and essence of the story, neatly and in a very streanlined manner.

An interesting weekend / leisure – time read! Mango cheeks eaten by metal teeth!!!

About the book

It is different time: Sridevi rules the box office and Kapil Dev is yet to retire.

Geetha, elevenish, is off for the annual family vacation in Kerala and is looking forward to all the fun with her cousins – sleeping till nine and bathing at any time she chooses, visits to the beach and trips to the market to buy glass bangles and kites and shuttlecocks, lazy afternoons under the shade of the mango tree in the garden and evenings in the veranda listening to her grandfather’s ridiculous ghost stories which he swears are all true, marathon card games and ferocious boys-versus-girls battles with the bristles of brooms made from coconut fibre, which induce a pain so intense that tears spring to the eyes unbidden…

But as the summer unfolds, Geetha finds herself spending more time instead at the back of the house with the free-spirited cook, the hypochondriac cleaner, the virile gardener; a cheeky helper girl…

… And Babu, son of Koovait Kannan, the bumbling plumber who made good. Babu’s family is immersed in the wedding preparations for Babu’s sister, who is marrying the most eligible bachelor in the neighbourhood: Constable Venu, an expert thrasher of suspects and son of that wealthy black-marketer of supplies; Ration Raaman. But Babu’s mind is otherwise occupied…with thoughts of a face as rounded as a Malgova mango hanging from a tree, of an oiled plait as thick as the ropes used to tie the fishing boats, of eyes that sparkle like the sea on a sunlit morn…

As Geetha and Babu’s closely linked but divergent lives intersect, both are about to lose some of the blissful ignorance and innocence of childhood.

Charmingly quirky and often lsugh-out-loud hilarious, this book is a playful coming-of-the-age story that gently explores the themes of growing up, loss of innocence and the intimate yet aloof nature of upstairs-downstairs relationships.