Food! - That wonderful part of our existence that not only plays the essential role of providing daily sustenance but is also an archetype of culture and tradition. For me, food is a meaningful catalyst to creating unforgettable memories and associations. There are certain foods that I associate with certain events or significant people in my life. I also seek comfort in food be it a hot bowl of dal rice after a hard day at work or a sneaky piece of chocolate as a reward for achieving something (Yes, I do apply the principles of behavioural psychology to my own life!)
I first came across Amulya Malladi’s books in London’s local libraries. I was impressed that her books are well stocked which is an indication of their popularity. I read a couple of these books and soon found out the reason for this. Two words – Writing and Characters! Her writing is immensely engaging and her characters threaten to come alive page by page. This certainly applies to ‘Serving Crazy with Curry’.
Devi, our protagonist is plagued by the pressures of ‘settling down’ i.e. getting married and to add it to this she also loses her job. Seeing no other way out, she tries to take her own life when she is miraculously rescued. She then reluctantly moves in with her parents. However, there is one problem. Devi stops speaking and takes over her mother’s kitchen where she cooks non stop. Food becomes a medium to express her emotions and her parents, grandmother, sister and brother in law look forward to family meals with great gusto. As the story progresses, the characters emerge strong and powerful and familial relationships are drawn out beautifully. I particularly loved the characters of Devi’s sister, mother and grandmother. Each so unique, yet so similar; having been unified by the singular identity of being a woman within the boundaries of their family.