Tongue-in-Cheek by Khyrunnisa A. | Book Review

I came across this book on a Facebook Group where readers pointed it out as an innately Indian observation of domestic encounters and everyday experiences described with comical wit. I looked up the Kindle sample of the first two stories and found myself so thoroughly amused that I had to get the book.

“Wrapping a rubber band tightly around a packet of masala powder, I tried to set it free, so I could observe the direction in which it would fly. It wouldn’t even snap, the perverse thing, and remained stubbornly resilient, attaching itself to the packet like its long lost love. It is a truth universally acknowledged that if a rubber band has to break, it will, and conversely, if it doesn’t wish to, it won’t.”

Tongue-in-Cheek is a rib-tickling ride—and everyone’s invited! Within these pages, Khyrunnisa A. gamely experiments with organic trash-based skincare, battles her way to a wedding feast, firmly deals with a contemptuous visitor to her home, and flavours her potato curry with rather dubious ingredients.

23. Tongue in Cheek

The author makes an emphatic claim that ‘this is a work of non-fiction’ and ‘every resemblance to any actual person, living or dead, creature, great or small, events, momentous or trivial, and locales, exotic or familiar, is deliberate.’ Well, once you start reading the short 2-3 page essays, this is not impossible to believe.

The incidents are grouped by their highest common factor, some of which include weddings, doctors, tech glitches, and garden misadventures. What makes them interesting is the author’s astute observations of mundane life and her sharp wit with which she extracts humour from these rueful and absurd episodes.

In the 50+ stories, you are bound to find at least a handful, if not more, which are totally relatable. Even if some resurrect memories bordering on the traumatic, they are bound to make you chuckle. I’ve truly enjoyed all the stories and anecdotes but I still want to list some of my absolute favourites, here:

  1. Kulchas, Phulkas, Snakes and Chaps
  2. Where’s the Rubber Band Gone?
  3. The Appeal of Vegetable Peels
  4. Losing Sleep over Waste
  5. Gated Community
  6. Under Pressure
  7. The Microwave Rules
  8. Not Floored
  9. Skin Deep
  10. Aunty or Madam

This is a sure-shot stress buster. You might even get your daily workout in reading just a few pages… that’s how much it is guaranteed to make you laugh. Really, I think this should come with a doctor’s prescription:

   Read one story every day.
   For best results, ingest at the start of your day for a perennially cheerful disposition.

Tongue-in-Cheek: The Funny Side of Life by Khyrunnisa A.. Published in 2019 by Tranquebar, an imprint of Westland Publications.

Book 23 of 2021.

Aquamarine Flavours Rating: 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟.

Available on Amazon*.

About Photo: What is a day in the life of an Indian which has not crossed paths with the auto-rickshaw? I’ve been holding on to this papercraft model of a Bajaj autorickshaw for months and finally found the perfect book to pair it with.
This is a modified template of the Indian three-wheeler as seen on Paper-Replika which I printed and cut on 230gsm Ivory.

23. Tongue in Cheek1

About the Author: Khyrunnisa A. is the author of the popular fortnightly column ‘Inside View’ that appeared in The Hindu MetroPlus. She is also a prize-winning author of children’s fiction and the creator of the hugely popular Butterfingers series for young readers.
She is a full-time writer and lives in Thiruvananthapuram.
You can reach her on Instagram and Facebook, or write to her at
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*Disclosure: This post contains an affiliate link which means, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a small commission if you click through and make a purchase.


6 thoughts on “Tongue-in-Cheek by Khyrunnisa A. | Book Review

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  3. Pingback: Chuckle Merry Spin: Us in the US by Khyrunnisa A. | Book Review – Aquamarine Flavours

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