Reviews

‘The Boy Called Ambi’: A Nostalgic Read to Take You Down Memory Lane

by Mru Natu

This is the story of Ambi, a boy who lived in a small village in Tirunelveli, Tamil Nadu. The book takes us through the journey of how this small boy became a government employee in Delhi and subsequently, a prominent astrologer who helped guide people in the right direction. While relaxing at home (now in the north of India) in his rocking chair, Ambi reminisces about his homeland in the South of India.

The book has 20 small chapters, a prologue, and an epilogue. This book is a delightful read for several reasons. First, the language of the book and the story is straightforward, which makes it an uncomplicated and quick read. Second, I loved the book’s themes – talking about our roots, our culture, our traditions, and our family values. I was fortunate enough to have experienced village life due to my grandparents living in the village for a few years after my birth. But those who could not experience the slice of that life are unlucky, I would say. There is a natural charm and beauty to that life that leaves you feeling content, peaceful and happy. This book will take you there.

Ambi’s portrayal of the ideal son was apt. Growing up, he helped his parents: mother in the housework, and his father in business. He respected the elders and his gurus and even mute animals. He was helpful; he was humble and a family man through and through. All India’s traditions, superstitions, customs, and traditions have been discussed to explain why they were performed. My parents always discussed the values they were brought up with – for instance, ‘a penny saved is a penny earned’. This book serves as a reminder of all these important, but now ignored, age-old values of our Indian culture system. The book also reminded me of my parents’ stories about how they bought a multitude of sweet offerings for a rupee in those times. I loved the nostalgia that the book evoked. I even loved the numerous pictures taken by Srividhya, displayed in black and white, and the village-life paintings by Reshika.

Our View on the Cover:

The cover is like a painting of a quaint village from a long-gone era of India: you see a boy walking carrying groceries and you cannot help thinking of an image of a ‘good boy’ – respectful, obedient, helpful, simple.

Characters:

Ambi, Amma (his mother), Appa (his father), Mangalambika (his wife).

Writing Style:

The visual tour of all the hundreds of temples in south India will leave you feeling like you have to visit them. And on a lighter note, this book had me salivating throughout with the description of various South Indian dishes and delicacies. I will visit a South Indian eatery this weekend just to satisfy my taste buds, which have been triggered by the very descriptive narrative of this story. The writing style and language are very easy to follow. The authors share the translations of all the local words they have used, but the use of these words makes the writing endearing and realistic.

Who can read:

I recommend it to readers looking to appreciate the beauty of village life in India.

Our final verdict:

A charming read. The authors mention: “Life is like a bouquet of experiences”- and this book will give you just that.

TitleThe Boy Called Ambi: Time Travel to Nostalgic Times
ISBN13: 9781636066684
Edition Reviewed2020
Author(s)Gayathri Venkatesan, Srividhya Venkatesan
The Asian Review Rating8 out of 10

Categories: Reviews

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