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The book I am now reading – and thoroughly enjoying too – is ‘The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared’. This title had been popping up fairly frequently and begging me for attention for quite some time now, while I on my part have been steadfastly refusing to be enticed away from the books I already had on my to-read list. One fine day though I decided to heed the call and dive into it, keeping the others aside.

Am I glad I did! This is one hilarious book. Not the Wodehouse kind of obvious hilarious, but more of the told-with-a-straight-face kind of hilarious.

By the way, is there anyone who doesn’t know that I am a HUGE Wodehouse fan? Perhaps the newbies are a bit sketchy about the details. The man, the Master really, was introduced to me by a pen-pal back when I was fifteen, introduced through the books he had written, because by then he had passed on. Too late a start, too late! But I made up for it by devouring his books one after the other from then on. My friends who always saw me with one of his books in my hand, and noticed his picture on the back cover, soon started referring to him as ‘Your Grandpa’. You bet I was pleased.

Getting back to ‘The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared’. It is the story of a hundred-year-old man (Duh!) who, like the title says, climbs out of the window of his room one day, on to the flowerbed outside, even as the celebrations for his hundredth birthday are underway in a different part of the old age home, and walks away. He has no plans of any sort. He meanders across the cemetery and into the local bus station, the place where it all starts.

The old man asks the man at the counter if there is a bus going anywhere, and being told one would arrive shortly, decides to wait for it. Meanwhile a young man, who wants to use the bathroom (very urgent business!), entrusts the hundred-year-old man with a large suitcase. The bus arrives soon and the hundred-year-old man, not wanting to delay his departure, gets into the bus lugging the suitcase along, a suitcase that belongs to the bad guys, and is full of cash.

Thus begins the story of the old man’s adventures. On the way he collects a motley group of people, not to mention a dog Buster and an elephant called Sonya (the cutest!), with the police and the bad guys both after them for different reasons. It is hilarious how he and his cohorts drive those who are chasing them nuts by their every action. In between we have ‘flashback chapters’ from the author where he tells you all about the hundred-year-old man’s early days starting from his childhood when he loved to ‘blow things up’ which eventually led to his being an explosives expert.

I won’t say anything more about the book and spoil it for anyone who would like to read it. Suffice to say I am most entertained by it, so much so that I have been regaling the L&M with anecdotes from the book. Though he seems to be enjoying the bits I tell him, I know for a fact he’d never read the book because he is more of a thrillers kind of guy. I have found out there is a movie of the book, and hopefully we’ll watch it together after I finish the book.

© Shail Mohan 2020