Sunaina Luthra/Harsimran kaur ON Feb 20, 2023, IN BOOK REVIEW, INSATIABLE-MY HUNGER FOR LIFE BY SHOBHA DE- NON-FICTION
Our very own impetuous, vociferous and a glamorous writer/columnist, Shobha De is back with a bang with her new book ‘Insatiable-My hunger or life’.
Her new booktakesreaders to hersumptuous homeforinteresting conversations, her convivial social encounters andthe amusing interactions with her family and friends.Her writing style is salacious and is quite hard-fringed to extrapolate what seems bemusing to the world. The book is a pot – pourri of her deeply invested relationship with food- a gourmet for every occasion, moment, mood and interaction. She uses food as a powerful metaphor for all that is valuable and gratifying in her life.
She quotes “Food fortifies. Food is our friend. Food is fundamental. Why antagonize bichara khaana-peena? What has the poor bhindi done to you?”
Point well taken! Mrs De
The book is De’s unapologetic confession of her palate being variegated and adventurous as her.Food has been pivotal in cementing a strong bond with family and friends. Her food encounters with her journalist friend, Olga Tellis is animated and is a tusk-tuskof diaphanous pre-sets. Sharing the scrumptious ‘Bohri Lasan Kheema’ with Nobel Laureate M.F Hussain over a conversation to exploring food in actor Aamir Khan’s home,she takes us to the dining halls of some of the renowned celebrities.
The serendipity of meeting Prince Charles and Camilla is sort of a vanguard simulacrum the Indians carry with a hot-hedged past. De has no compunction to accept this even after a brief tet-a-tet of the glorified ‘Kama Sutra’ with the highness and the concomitant inglorious food that has no scratch in the memory.
The meeting with Rushdie too remains livid as it was a ‘bewitching’ encounter with his companion Padma Lakshmi who was nasty and fumed. Being one of her favourite writers, she could not let the meeting become a run of the mill affair.
No story in the book is complete without her mention of her husband and children whom she collectively calls ‘Brood’ showcasing the powerful bond with her family. Her solicitous house help-Pushpa, the feisty masseur Babita and her fine cook Anil are her entourage adding spice to her sometimes mundane life.
De is a gifted raconteur and her efficacious story-telling is humorous. At 75,she has once again proved that she still possesses a voracious appetite for life’s infinite bounties and shares the same with her readers.The mood darkens as sullen clouds drift in by the end of the book. Encompassing her dark fears, frailties and vulnerabilities,she is candid in sharing one of the darkest phases of her life when society and loved ones ostracized her for leading life as per her own choices.
Just like her columns that are packed with eccentricities and strong opinions, the book leaves a profound impact at few places.Sometimes it seems more like a diary entrypenned in a chronological order according to seasons.
De does not flinch away from presenting some of the pertinent life lessons.‘Insatiable’ is Shobha’s salute to life- a feast meant to be savoured.
With this thought and clinking glasses of champagne,let’s raise a toast to life!!