Like many old people, my great grandfather was very fond of funerals, particularly those of close friends and relatives.
"For a start, it means that I`ve outlived them," he`d brag." Madhavan only made it to seventy but I`m still going strong at over a hundred." And in a more thoughtful mood he`d add, "And what`s more, it proves I`m still alive. There`s life in the old dog yet. In fact, I`ve a good mind to live forever."
" No -one lives for ever, Great grandpa. Everyone has to die sooner or later."
Is that what they teach you at that school of yours?" he snorted. "Your Mrs. Padma knows all about longevity, does she?"
"It`s not just Mrs. Padma," I protested "It`s a scientific fact."
He stroked his sharp chin with a bony hand and then tweaked the ends of his immense moustache."Well, now, is that so? Let me tell you, that a scientific fact is only a fact until something else comes along to disprove it. Right?"
Jaspar Utley`s Tall Tales are a collection of hilarious stories about a child and his grandfather who is over a hundred years old. The grandfather is a patriarch who maintains that the secret of his longevity lies in umpteen cups of sweet milk tea . He is always dressed in a white cotton shirt and white dhoti, with a hennaed moustache which is big and twirly and strong enough to hang coconuts on. Grandpa, with one stone eye sits almost all day in his favourite white cane chair in the garden spinning yarn after yarn for his grandson.
These tales are full of humour and satire and must of course be taken with a pinch of salt. Laden with a few home truths, every tale brings a smile. The Archeologist brings out the explorer in Grandpa while in The Spy Grandpa turns out to be a better detective than Sherlok Holmes. "The Black Sheep", The Athelete and "The Politician" are other incredible stories which the grandson listens to with rapt attention.
David Jaspar Utley was born in Britain but spent a considerable time working in many countries. This book is the result of one such stint in Chennai . He worked for the British Council for thirty nine years. He has written a number of short stories which have been published and broadcast.
Published By - Puffin ( Penguin India)
Price - Rs. 199/-
ISBN : 0143 335 766
Format : Paperback