Mrs Funny Bones

October 1995

Whoever names their daughter Twinkle, thought I. Then again, her aunt was Simple, and her mother was Dimple, so there you go. The girl was pretty, no doubt about it. A petite, porcelain face framed by a gorgeous mane, and that unmistakable cleft in the chin; she was her mother’s daughter, alright. Ah, well, she is bound to make it big, I remarked. The girl is genetically and financially programmed for it.

Coming from noted film families, these two kids of famous fathers were touted as the next big thing. They made waves, yes. He for his hair volume and she for being her mother’s lookalike. Their debuts were notably awarded the Filmfare.

Between 1996 and 2000

CANDLES??? Really?? Don’t get me wrong. I knew the career path wasn’t going great guns, but what was she thinking? The only candles I knew of were available outside churches on Novena days. I dismissed it as one of those things that BIG people do for publicity. This was followed by an early retirement from Bollywood. To a people who don’t really dig fun-n-fairs, a Mela was so catastrophically 70’s. I did not blame her.

January 2001

“Akshay bhi shaadi kar raha hai”, my dad said.

“Really?” I asked.

“Haan, Dimple ki beti ke saath. Waise usse tere card bada pasand aaya.”

“Hmmm”, I murmured absent-mindedly. I had so much to do. I was getting married on the 19th of the month. With dad’s film fraternity, my guest list had undergone so many alterations, I could do with a few drop-outs. Besides my unconventional card was a poetic invite. Everyone loved it!

“Twinkle Khanna?” I thought to myself later that night. Anyway, sleep got the better of me and soon D Day arrived. I kept my date. So did Akshay. Two days earlier the eligible bachelor had been hooked for life.

Somewhere in 2006 ( or was it 2007?)

We were on our annual vacation. Four years since the princess had arrived and I still looked like I was carrying twins. As I waddled around the airport lounge, I saw a vision in white. There she was, looking fresh like a daisy. She had no reason to notice me, or anybody for that matter. She sat in one secluded corner, with a book in one hand, looking every bit the immaculate version of a yummy mummy. She’d had a boy pretty much the same year I had my girl, and yet the gods of cellulite and gravitational forces had clearly picked a winner – Me.

Some women are born with all the luck, I muttered.

Cut to 2015

Everyone is going gaga over @MrsFunnyBones. My first reaction – Now she is blogging and tweeting too? It must be a Ghost Writer for sure. I decided to investigate this. Every celebrity was on the social network armed with cut-copy-paste humour these days. Halwa hai kya? 

I read. I laughed. I followed.

She seemed alright. Actually, more than alright, she seemed real. So I stayed. Her blogs were more like pages from her diary. Her day would start early where she shuttled between motherly and wifely duties to be the career woman she chose to be. We are regaled with anecdotes about the prodigal son, the baby and the man of the house while she talks politics, parties and shop with equal ease.

We exchanged a few tweets. She seemed nice. Was my opinion changing?

When she announced her first book, I pre-ordered. I’ll be honest. I wanted to see what more could she write when we were already privy to a slice of her life on her blog. Last week the book came in. I devoured it in a day. This post took a week to pen! I wasn’t trying to be articulate, I was just trying to fill in our entwined timelines. (Thank God for Google!)

So, the very Mumbaiya cover of Twinkle Mommy Khanna riding a rickshaw, with the fruits of her loom in the backseat, is quite cute.

I opened the book, three words tugged at my heart – For My Dad.

I moved to the contents where each chapter had been alphabetically slotted. Smart move, I thought. She has her beginning and end sorted. Now would the middle live up to the hype, I wondered. Every chapter has a post-it that leads you onward. The illustrations that accompany her diary entries need a mention. She talks about everything under the sun from men to menstruation, mom to MIL, Valentine’s Day to Karva Chauth, maids to neighbours, Pets to perverts, and kids to girlfriends. But what stood out for me the most was her ability to laugh at herself. She takes digs at everything, right from her name to her acting skills, her atheist beliefs to her arrest warrants – everything. As I read page after page, I realized that she is just like me. She goes to the movies, prank calls with girlfriends, travels in a rickshaw, plays school gate mom and dons the dutiful DIL avatar as and when required, even if she may not conform to rituals. Her ordinary escapades made her endearing.

Bollywood history stands witness to heirs who are still trying to fill in the shoes of famous parents, albeit unsuccessfully. Here is a woman who was born into the lap of fortune, further attracted karma with her high-profile marriage, and yet did not flinch for a moment to change routes. She walked away from all that she knew, and carved a niche choosing who she wants to be. Too often, we judge the rich and the famous without an inkling of their life story. We just assume that they have it all laid on a platter. I know I did. It’s just easier, no?

 This book is your go to when….

…you are having a bad day and need a laugh.

…your children can bring you down to your knees.

…your mom simply finds fault with you for the 43662032928th time

…your house help is absconding

…your stash of hash is over.

As I wind up this post, I gently doff my sunshine bonnet to Mrs Funny Bones; both, the book and the author have earned my respect.

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