Edwin Fernandes strikes one as an eager storyteller, who has perhaps not had his literary talent tapped to its utmost owing to the fact that he had not the time to devote to it exclusively. This ‘accidental’ banker, who held journalistic aspirations as a school boy, would follow the conventional path of a profession safer than the whimsical world of literature and climb his way up the career rungs to become a general manager at IDBI. However, his writing continued to some extent unabated, having the honour of his writings appearing in publications such as Mid-Day, The Teenager, The Statesman (Kolkata) and so on. He even edited the IDBI house journal for over a decade. His first book was Patna Ponderings, a compilation of essays written during his posting in Patna. From there Edwin ventured into the world of blogging, where he achieved considerable success, being listed as one of Sulekha.com’s top ten bloggers.
Beyond Bandra, the author’s latest offering, is a collection of blog writings that delve into Edwin’s past and present, his musings, some humorous, some poignant, but always engrossing. There are stories about his youth, friends, family, feasts and festivals, brushes with the law, office shenanigans and various adventures.
Edwin’s pace and humour is reminiscent of Wodehouse to some degree, but with dollops of the essence of the Goenkar and his goenkarponn. Edwin describes scenes that are all but gone from the Indian landscape, and he has done well to document them for posterity.
‘As youngsters, we envied our elders for their cycles. Cycles cost a grand sum of 25 paise per hour to hire! We ran errands, did housework, homework, etc, just to earn that princely sum.’
Edwin has a penchant for the pun and has demonstratively used it to magnify the wit in spinning his tales. His use of irony is not lost on the reader either. The tone is consistently congenial, never straying into malicious undertones.
‘Needless to say, to keep the supply chain of floral offerings going, the gardens of our neighbours were ruthlessly stripped of flowers…every night! Those who got caught were treated to some very flowery language! Since the pilfered flowers were offered in church, we never suffered any pangs of a guilty conscience… Life those days was so uncomplicated.’
The laughter the blogs included in Beyond Bandra evoke is a constant, whether it is the telegram meant to give the information that a man had given up his berth on the train to an old lady which was sent as ‘…given birth to an old lady’, or the female applicant lacking English speaking skills, who mentioned ‘playing chaste’ as a hobby, referring to her love of chess. Beyond Bandra is hard to put down and definitely a good read for lifting a dreary mood.
The book is published by Goa, 1556 and is priced at Rs 400.