At 70, I might be preparing myself for the impending end of the story, lying on a couch, counting numerous illnesses, and whining about the kids not being considerate. Or so is the common practice of parents and grandparents who are past 70. But here I see a woman who is a mother, and grandmother who is worried about her soaring body weight and decided to embark on an intermittent fasting journey and looking forward to her salon appointment. Insatiable by Shobha De is primarily her gourmet experience but it is also a book that gives various life lessons which we might ignore otherwise.
‘I promise not to be three things–profound, pedantic and pretentious.’
‘I promise not to be three things–profound, pedantic and pretentious,’ says Shobhaa De, as she begins her heart-warming book.
It’s a promise India’s most beloved writer delivers on in her irreverent memoir about the year leading up to her landmark seventy-fifth birthday. With quintessential exuberance and keen observations firmly in place, she tells us about traveling solo, feasting (and fasting) with family and friends, the triumphs and losses that accompany ageing, the vagaries and vulnerabilities of being a writer and, above all, how food connects people in the most unexpected places and delightful ways.
From where to find the most delicious lassi in Jaipur, her obsession with kasundi and conversations with a Nobel Laureate who is a gourmet to M.F. Husain’s last food khwaish and what’s served at Aamir Khan’s dinner table, Shobhaa takes us into the dining rooms of politicians, artists and celebrities, to festivals and parties and other social events, and, more privately, into her home, where food is always the prime subject of conversation.
In Insatiable, Shobhaa reminds us of the many delights and disappointments that the banquet of life offers, even as she examines the shared emotional hunger for happiness and love that binds us all.
Shobha De is an author who has assured an undeniable position in Indian Literature. She is not the flagbearer of the so-called feministic propaganda but she, instead of telling, shows what real feminism and equality are. The book has multiple instances where we can see how the spouses Mr. and Mrs. Dey have given each other individual space.
The author is a self-proclaimed and visible foodie who engages various emotions with the food she eats. She is a Maharashtrian married to a Gujarati family. However, her cuisines and food experiences are not limited to these two states.
The author with her cosmopolitan life introduces the readers to various cuisines that many of us would not dream to try. Moreover, her take on relationships be it with her husband or kids or even friends for that matter give a new definition to life. The author has deftly shown us how letting go can save relations.
She is not preachy the monologue about the incidents coupled with food stories never get monotonous due to her sheer craft. However. towards the second half, the stories show a pattern and there the pace of reading drops a bit. However if you have been a Shobha De fan, you wouldn’t DNF the book because you would want to know which story that she is about to share.