Book Review: Aisle Be Damned

Part of Debut Indian Writers Challenge 2013aisle-be-damned

The tag line of this book captures the reader’s attention right away and gives a pretty good idea about what to expect between the covers. For the uninitiated, it is an interesting handbook on everything about airports and flying. You would start the book with the notion that it might be fiction, only to discover that it is written in a matter-of-fact way. The author wonders in his end notes about the genre his book would belong to in the market. I don’t think he will be too unhappy to find it on the Non-fiction/Humour shelves. Honestly very few works make it to the bestseller list in humour and I must say Rishi Piparaiya has raised the bar to the coveted 38,000 feet with his debut venture. 

Aisle Be Damned attracts the reader with the cover and tagline. It is an intelligent blend of pun and posh-ness. The book starts with airports, covers check-in, security, boarding, flight safety, food and all the other steps in separate chapters. There is a little something for everyone – tips to strike useful conversations with attractive co-passengers, a very important section on choosing your seats wisely before boarding, a rather intimidating chapter on flight safety, hilarious anecdotes on captains and cockpits. The author leaves no stones unturned to instil humour in each chapter. Try this for instance,

I can’t really comment on international airlines but the words and phrases that they use in India are probably from the third century BC. I am serious. Vilambh. Nishedh. Madira. What language are they speaking and what the heck are they saying?

Landing and perfect airport pickups feature too in the manual, as they ideally should. I’m sure many of us would instantly identify being a victim of lost baggage at some time or the other.

There is a popular scientific theory that the rings of Saturn are made up entirely of lost airline baggage so that’s where your junk will probably end up.

On a fair note, I can say I thoroughly enjoyed reading this quirky book despite a few snags. I particularly liked the author’s perspectives and insights on seat selection, food and loos. The anecdotes are crisp, relevant and funny. I liked the book design with pictures, quotes and symbols relevant to aviation. The chapter on flight safety would seem a little scary and boring for a few people. It is not at par with the other ones, in my opinion. After cruising through a rocker of a book, the so-called bonus chapter appeared mostly out of place to me. The conclusion and end notes are never ending and a little tiring! The awesome journey loses its pace after landing in these chapters.

Not only for the frequent fliers such as corporate executives and business people, this book is a recommended read to the not-so-frequent flier as well. It has the right share of fun, information, insight and advise. In fact, if you try reading it while waiting at an airport terminal, you might attract some attention besides relating yourself better to the incidents mentioned!

Publisher: Jaico Books
Pages: 214
Genre: Non-Fiction/Humour
Rating: 4 of 5
Reviewed for: Publisher

Browse through the full list of book reviews in the depths of the Pensieve.

Fastest way to read this