Aabir found his sister reclining in the hammock, in the garden, reading William - The Bad, while Lady Mountbatten rolled on her back trying to itch a particular spot. She didn’t get up to greet Aabir; she was a temperamental Dalmatian attached only to Aatreyee, who she’d taken to like a dog to a couch as a puppy. Mrs Mookerjee had once had nightmares about the house being overrun by Dalmatian puppies; she remembered the movie 101 Dalmatians only too well. Contrary to her expectations, Lady Mountbatten had fallen asleep in her daughter’s arms and other than the occasional penchant for scrabbling at new books from the library, she had displayed exemplary obedience, albeit only to her young mistress.
‘Heavyweight reading, eh?’ grinned Aabir.
‘Yes,’ said Aatreyee, without looking up.
‘Did you meet The Holy One?’
‘He’s fatter than ever.’
‘Did you see his iPhone?’
A pause. Then—‘No.’
‘He has one.’
‘He had pictures of possible brides to show me.’
‘Did he try to show you pictures of possible grooms?’Aabir chuckled at the idea.
Aatreyee put her book down for a moment and regarded her brother unblinkingly for a moment before resuming her perusal of the antics of William and the Outlaws. Aabir stopped chuckling. How disorienting his sister was.
He cleared his throat. ‘I wanted to ask you about the tie you put in my cupboard.’
‘I’ve given it to Mukul.’
Aabir looked at Lady M, who had stopped rolling on the grass.
‘Did you think I’d like the tie?’ he asked the Dalmatian, who thumped her tail on the ground and then turned her back to him. Aabir glared at her. Women! Who could begin to understand them?
‘Well toodle-oo. I’m off to earn my bread and butter.’
He turned away and started off towards the house. Aatreyee turned another page and stretched out her hand to Lady M, who immediately positioned herself under her mistress’ doting fingers.
About the book: A quintessential Bengali anglophile, Aabir Mookerjee, is back from Oxford and can often be spotted basking in the comfort of colonial clubs or pottering around his restaurant, E&B, whose chocolate mousse has been garnering all the attention. Troubles begin when The Mad Hatter opens across town and its attractive young proprietress shows a knack for concocting sweetmeats. Meanwhile, Aabir’s mother and the family priest unite to find him a ‘suitable’ bride. His monosyllabic sister won’t help and his incorrigible friend is too much the flagrant Lothario to be depended upon. Soon, the easily disoriented Aabir finds himself swamped by more ladies than he can handle. Perhaps the only person who can bring things to a head is his dead grandmother, who watches over the family with an eagle eye from her unearthly abode on the coconut tree.
Hugely engaging, with bountiful laughter, read along to know how Aabir fares, even as he inches closer to the best dessert he can get his hands on and a romance he hadn’t bargained for.