Ever since I moved to India four years ago I have been reading a ton of books with India and it's people as the backdrop. In a subcontinent that is as vast and as diverse as India, a well written book is a quick way to connect with the heart and soul of this beautiful and ancient land. Authors like Dalrymple, Roy, Pattanaik, Bhagat, Singh, Tharoor and now Mohan add to that compelling and mystical narrative that is India. Highly recommend Daddykins to anyone looking to connect or reconnect with both family and place. Kalpana's style of storytelling imbued with humor and insights into the human condition with lavish evocations of space will hold the reader spellbound. It certainly, made me cry, laugh and imagine at the same time. Great read. Can't wait to read more!!
For me, Kalpana Mohan’s Daddykins is SUCH a whiff of nostalgia peppered liberally with a most familiar milieu. Not for Kalpana using deliberately incomprehensible thesaurus-acquired words purely to show her virtuosity - she has a wonderful, relatable style of evocative writing with beautiful imagery. Her book is not just about her father – yes, his presence permeates through the book, but it is more a peg to show us life from the perspective of a person of that generation – a man who was extremely forthright, moral and principled and could therefore boldly speak out on the hypocrisies and contradictions of the world around him, without any concern of how he might be perceived. Kalpana has used extreme candour coupled with a defining and underlying compassion – making us laugh and cry with the family. It is a rare book that can appeal to a housewife, a business magnate or an artiste – Daddykins is one such – for we can, each and every one of us, relate to someone or something in the book. A definite, and very easy, five stars.
My copy of #Daddykins arrived on time and I immediately pounced on it. I’d been seeing this on my feed for sometime and I had no idea how moving this book would be.
Kalpana Mohan writes magically about her father, his life, all the way from his days in pre-independent India, to the 21st century. I was transported to his village in Palakkad, to the Madras of old (and Chennai of new) that him and his family made Home in. Mostly though, the words paint a breathtaking picture of a man through his daughter’s eyes, through his Man Friday’s eyes, through the lives of those he touched.
Even if you don’t read memoirs or non-fiction, this is something you need to pick up. It’s worth every penny, right from the first chapter. As you can see, I’d even written down quotes from the book that meant a lot to me - 10 pages of it!
I've never been a fan of memoirs, more of a fiction reader. But boy, did this book speak out to me! Took me through a myriad of emotions, vicarious experiences, stirring up my own memories along the way. Laughed out loud for a long time (scaring my daughter in the other room) while reading several pages - especially the one about difficulty translating Tamil swear words to English and Chennai apartment turning into Google data center!! Shed tears profusely for Rajamani mama (my father's name happens to be the same) in the last few chapters. In terms of the everyday life journey presented in the most hilarious/sprightly manner (despite the fact that the protagonist is in the twilight phase of a very fulfilling life), this memoir is to the publishing world what Seinfeld is to TV shows. It's about what we think as everyday nothings and yet it's about everything that matters which moulds and shapes our lives - that's the beauty of this memoir! I have to be honest that I had to consult dictionary a few times though I consider myself reasonably well equipped with sophisticated vocabulary. I personally love rich writing which through the subtle play of words portrays the human being talked about through the kaleidoscopic lens of the shadows of their past - which makes them endearing despite any fallibility in the present context! Some things are a constant I guess - like having a kunja in every household of a similar nature! I loved the endearing sobriquets - Daddykins,Thalaivar, Three Roses! My humble obeisance to the man who had a great sense of humor, who cared for his family/relationships, whose professionalism was par excellence and who kept fire burning within, till the end arrived too close - beloved Daddykins! What a great engaging piece of work! Kudos Kalpana Mohan!
A read that was both sad and funny, a story of a love that is both universal and unique. Nothing can ever extinguish the aching sadness of the loss of one's parents; all we are left with are stories and memories. Kalpana Mohan has captured these so beautifully. It is the story of her family, the life and times of her beloved Daddykins and a host of others who were part of his milieu. I know none of them, but I could relate to so much of what she so movingly writes about, such is the power of her words..
This book ensnared and embraced me in its narrative of a father's life through his daughter's eyes. It was like feasting on a sumptuous banana leaf meal. With a zing of a ginger here, pungent of fried hing there, tang of a rasam here and comfort of thayyir sadam there, the narration meandered through the bylanes of Palakkad to Dar and back to Chennai without slacking even for a moment and kept me hooked through out. The rib-tickling repartees between Vinayakam and Daddykins, the witty aphorisms and hillarious snarky observations of the author made this book a delightful read. I would read it over again and again. A beautiful tribute to an endearing dad from his daughter. Daddykins is surely chuckling and chortling with glee in Yamlokpatam with a proud glint in his eye.
I read the authors article in Hindu. Sent it to my daughter who is studying out of town. Read the article again from my daughter's papers. Decided to buy the book. Towards the end of the book i wept. I related everything in the book with my father. No less or no more. She has made English reading very easy. Neither praise nor criticism. Remain to the facts. Sculpted her father perfect. Recently i read another memoir on father by Gayatri Prabhu. This is another master piece. I should admit by my limited reading knowledge, daughters any day seem to be knowing more of fathers and can paint the emotional self of their father to a lay man's understanding perfect. i wish you to continue writing to the pleasure of your wellwishers
Kalpana has written an intensely personal memoir - with etched descriptions that draw you into the moment and space and come alive. The writing pulls you in and makes the story yours - and you feel the same joys and despair of the characters therein.