Of mangoes, bridge and a bygone era

Families are like the sweet mangoes of Aamnagri — messy, filled with juicy secrets and sticking together through all times.

The Awasthis of Aamnagri are the quintessential Indian family, who bumble through their lives encountering missing jewels and stolen eggs, deaths foretold, averted and a suspected suicide with no body. The mysteries are solved by the inquisitive minds of young Lakshmi and Guddu and the saffron-clad Guruji.

With charming agility, the Awasthis sail through life and its quirks. The advent of God-men, genuine and fake, is a source of both relief and embarrassment for them. But not for the Lady of the Mansion – Mataji.

She is the ‘sutradhar’ who strings this tale of silk sarees and talking parrots together, who handles bedridden bahus and in-danger bhaiyyas with equal ease, who is tyrannical and vulnerable at the same time. And through whom the Awasthi family discovers that happy endings come for a price-of truth and love.

All over a game of bridge!

Shubha Sarma’s “The Awasthis of Aamnagri” (Niyogi Books) is a simple story about a quintessential Indian family of a bygone era, when people were closer to each other and spent leisure together. It’s a very exciting read, especially for children and young adults, who are losing the simpler pleasures of life, pursuing the bigger ones.

Born and brought up in Lucknow, Sarma is an alumnus of Lady Shri Ram College and Jawaharlal Nehru University and a member of the Indian Administrative Service. A Yoga practitioner, she enjoys travelling, swimming and tending to her bonsai collection.

Her debut book, “Fly on the Wall & Other Stories” was launched in 2013 and was translated into Hindi and Italian. It received rave reviews from readers and critics alike. Her body of work displays strong characters and reflects the changing times that confront us.