Chopped Green Chillies in Vanilla Ice Cream


AMAZON.COM (with reviews)

FLIPKART (with reviews)

Chinmoy “Tiger” Bose is a slightly overweight adolescent devoted to friends and family in his humble neighbourhood in Kolkata.  But when his parents land an unexpected win at a lottery the family moves to an affluent part of the city.  Tiger is uprooted from his beloved neighbourhood where life seemed perfect.  Childhood friends are distanced, school ceases to be in the vernacular and his jugular appears severed.  It could not possibly hurt more.  But when the despondent teenager arrives at the uppity Vanilla Apartments, he acquires a brand new lifeline.

Vanilla Apartments is a multistoried behemoth of white cement that resembles a massive block of vanilla ice cream.  Here he meets the best friends of his life and acquires the nickname –“Tiger.”  He savours every single day of his newfound existence with four spirited friends, Kirit, Robin, Signal and Pluto.  Tiger observes complex lives in transitioning middle class India in the throes of economic liberalization at the turn of the century.  He begins to nurse the desire to rise out of his humble beginnings and truly belong.

The high-rise houses misfits and wannabees and islands and archipelagos.  Quidnuncs and vamps complete the equation.  Their spicy lives are like chopped green chilies in vanilla ice cream.  At Vanilla Apartments, Tiger and his friends embark upon a journey to trap a ghost in a commode, witness corruption by custodians of the law and get embroiled in a controversy that could drop them from public grace.  He runs on the busy streets of Kolkata with a naked friend to help him regain lost love, loses his brother to an obsessive pursuit of the American dream, and pines to leave India for the perceived riches awaiting him on American shores.  Tiger’s journey reveals tales of deceit and loyalty, heartbreak and hope as only India can.


Kolkata comes alive in Chopped Green Chillies in Vanilla Ice Cream.



A tale to savour… It is an insider’s take at an unfettered childhood in Kolkata.  Toronto-based Sam Mukherjee sets the scene with a few deft strokes.  Chopped Green Chillies in Vanilla Ice Cream is a taste of the familiar with an unexpected twist.



The most important offering of the novel is the series of interesting social scenarios portrayed by Mukherjee.  Through the lives of Tiger and his friends, Mukherjee picks up and presents insightful snapshots of different classes of society and their interactions.  The author’s charming and free flowing language and descriptive style keeps the book continuously colourful, and he manages to paint a beautiful ‘Big Picture’ with the help of many colourful ones between the front and back covers of ‘Chopped Green Chillies in Vanilla Ice Cream.’

Mukherjee is nothing less than the ever popular Indian snack, ‘Kolkata’s Jhalmuri.’  Truly, this is such an interesting read that one can smoothly travel down to the city of Calcutta in the 80s, loiter around and come back to 2011 with lots of delicious fragrances from the past. 

In short, this book is a delicious read.



This novel by journalist/writer Sam Mukherjee comes with a sweet yet tangy title that put in my mind thoughts of a frosty summer cocktail.  In fact, this is such an easy read that you can savour them both (the book and the drink) on a lazy summer afternoon.

…Mukherjee peps up the book with a series of interesting social journeys Tiger and his friends undertake, spinning tales of deceit, loyalty and heartbreak, and the lessons they learn from each of these.  The author’s vivid descriptions liven up the book, and he manages to take a potshot at the middle-class Indians’ households and their newly acquired tendency of splurging on material extravagances.



…Interesting characters with a crisp moving plot make the book a fascinating read.  The book will allure both young and old as it hints at the middle class ideals and kindles the sentiments of the children as well as the parents.  At the same time, it depicts the confused and fun-loving side of the youth.



The Bose family wins a lottery.  It’s a ticket to a better lifestyle as they move to Kolkata’s posh Vanilla Apartments.  The high-rise building also houses misfits and wannabes.  The book gets its name from this strange mix.  Young Chinmoy of the Bose family soon becomes friends with four other kids in the same residential complex.  The novel tells their story ranging from ghost-busting to dealing with blackmailers and other scandalous, behind-the-door goings on at the apartments.  The book starts off slowly but gathers speed.  Mukherjee offers a fairly entertaining read that manages to amuse if not engross.



…An interesting story of deceit, loyalty, heartbreak and hope.



…Represents the bewildered also the playful minds of the youth.  The contemporary youth can relate to the protagonist, and his desire to rise out of his humble beginnings to acquire the riches awaiting him on American shores.  The book will appeal to the young as well as the old, as it evokes the sentiments of the children along with their parents also hinting at the middle-class ideals.























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