For ad-man-turned-author Desmond Macedo, fact is definitely funnier than fiction. What started out as whimsical outpourings on a blog back in 2007, later took the form of amusingly witty stories in his debut book, Dan Mullagathanny’s Irresponsible Stories. “I began writing these stories on a blog, which the illustrator of the book, Jayesh Raut, started for me. I didn’t know jack about how to start a blog, but I continued writing about what I experienced or observed.”
Taking life in India in the noughties as his subject, Macedo writes about an era when women were slipping into dangerously low-waist jeans, people were chronicling their lives on G-talk, Facebook and Twitter and when he, like his protagonist Dan, was not under 40 years of age (like 80 per cent of the country’s population).
“The stories were inspired by India changing, 2000 onwards. To me it was fun to watch India move from a conservative democracy to a quarrelsome democracy to a free-market democracy,” says Macedo, adding, “I wanted to write about this change, but in satire. The original idea was about a guy growing old in a country growing young.”
Everyone from Shahid Kapoor to Shashi Tharoor finds mention in this topical book, which is interspersed by Raut’s (a Cannes shortlist for design) black and white illustrations and Macedo’s amusing prose. Over the course of 30 chapters, the two offer a sociological commentary about the story of the life and times of their 46 year old, neurotic character.
“I knew I would borrow from my life, so the use of a character was only to write bolder, forthright and funnier. The ‘irresponsible stories’ come from Dan’s character – his reckless approach to storytelling: simply shooting his mind off, yet miraculously managing to stay logical,” feels the author, who has recently shifted base from Mumbai to Doha.
Ask him about his readers, and Macedo says, “Urban, young executives, in the age bracket of 21-31 will be able to relate to the book, since Dan's observations are mostly about the society of the past decade. It will appeal to the generation that does not believe in conforming, which is why they’re called irresponsible stories.”
The book is available online at http://moochchaap.com and at Tappu Ki Dukaan, Kermani Building, Sir PM Road, Fort. Rs 327.