No Title
Anju Virmani
BIG MISTAKE: AN ANTHOLOGY ON GROWING UP AND OTHER TOUGH STUFF by Shaheen Bhatt Penguin, 2021, 235 pp., 250.00
November 2021, volume 45, No 11

In all good Hindi movies, after a lot of trials and tribulations, the hero would come in and save the day. After all the trials and tribulations COVID brought upon us, it looks like the hero is ancient Indian traditions, which would sweep in and save the day. From doing namaste instead of shaking hands and exchanging viruses, to realizing that humble kaarhas worked better than unnecessary remdesivir. So maybe even for fighting the current ongoing epidemic of non-communicable diseases, worsened by COVID, the hero will be the same ancient traditions: food practices and exercise, based on sound scientific principles, which will sweep in and save all of us. Ayurveda recommends that meals should have something of all the six flavours: sweet, sour, salt, spicy, bitter and astringent.

Well, here is such a book. Big Mistake describes itself as an ‘anthology on growing up and other tough stuff’, and ‘a label defying collection for every young adult’. Well, I am not young any more, but I decided to read it anyway: I had a deadline I was trying to pretend didn’t exist. And it was worth sneaking out for. It’s a fun collection: a combination of autobiographical pieces with fiction, and a poem thrown in for masala: a book which is thought provoking, funny, cute, frightening, worrying, all the flavours, in short.

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