Tuki (or Tulika) is a Maharashtrian girl who has grown up in the bylanes of Bandra with its cheek-by-jowl boutiques, bakeries and beauty parlours. Her Marathi-accented, not-so-fluent English is an adorable touch but little Ms. Bandra is big when it comes to ambition. Working as one of the much sought after hairstylists in the chic Nancy’s Factory, she is saving up for the day when she can afford the small property that she has identified to set up her dream salon. She has an adorable black mutt who goes by the name of, what else, Kaloo, who is also the keeper of all her secrets, big and small.
Her colleagues at the NF are a bunch of quirky characters and the ups and downs of life and times in a Bandra salon are narrated by the author with great gusto and a sense of fun that keeps you smiling. There is a huge cast of characters and apart from the NF’s employees, there are a clutch of eccentric clients — including the acerbic and forgetful writer, Bijoy Dutta, filmstar Moushumi who has a paranoia of cutting her long tresses and the long-suffering Brenda and her kid Wolfie — who spice up the book’s first half. The introduction of Faraaz, a skilled tattoo man with a glad eye, ruffles up Tulika’s pretty orderly life but things begin to go seriously wrong when Bijoy suddenly does the disappearing act and her previous employer Savita Bhabhi’s parlour burns down. There is a bit of sabotage at work too and Tuki finds herself jobless and penniless.
The story, as well as Tuki’s life, take a sudden turn and the hairstylist finds herself sharing a villa in a picturesque village in Goa. The only bright spot in her life seems to be the charming hippie, Arvind. Will Tuki be able to realise her dream of setting up her own salon? What’s her connection with Bijoy? And what should she make of all these feelings that she nurtures for hot bod Arvind?
Parul Sharma brings freshness and a chicklit-like feel to her third novel, which has a bit of mystery, a lot of sparkling humour and a dash of romance. The only flaw in this extremely enjoyable book is the resolution. The ‘chase’ loses a bit of steam towards the end as the plot resolution gets stretched out. The back-story dump for a couple of characters could also have been avoided.
Overall, though, it is a fun read that will keep you smiling to the very last page.
My Rating: Four out of five stars.