The book “How to Make Enemies and Offend People” by G.Sampath is a light reading material. My uncle had been given a copy of the book by the author’s father Mr C Gomathinayagam. Unfortunately, I misplaced my uncle’s copy and I had to buy a new one to return it.
No doubt, the title of the book is attention-grabbing. If you thought like me, that the book teaches you how to make enemies or offend people (is it difficult enough to require a book to guide?) you will be disappointed. The book in most part a compilation of G.Sampath’s previously published columns in First Post, Mint & DNA. Nevertheless, some of them are hilarious and make a good read.
Sampath’s humour is at his best when he writes about offending his wife, proving the man has mastered the art after years of trial and error. Sampath starts by narrating his nugatory attempt in defending attacks from his wife on why he hasn’t bought a house yet, how an evening of fun watching a film turns into his wife complaining on he not loving her anymore and on his attempts to save time by getting his wife to wear anything other than the 3333 sarees she has. When I was halfway through this chapter on “Offending the wife” I got a jolt, immediately I took the book dutifully to my wife “Lakshmi” and asked her permission to continue reading. Without look up from a good book she was reading Lakshmi gave me a shrug, when I pressed her for a definitive answer I got a look which without a doubt told me that I have offended my wife. Thanks, Sampath for messing with my marriage life.
What is next to offending your better half, is to offend your other half which is yourself. Sampath talks about how to become a Swamiji coming up with a name of marketing brilliance for his spiritual self as “Super Sri Ultra Guru Swami Mahalingamananda Baba Plus Plus”. Then comes his wisdom on why Bucket and Mug in the bathroom are superior to western import a Bathtub, he explains why you need to be depressed and the truth behind your working day morning fury.
After this the book is mostly downhill. If till then there was a common thread running between the chapters, it gets random after that and that robbed me of any fun in reading. I suspect this is because the author has put his previous publications into groupings for no reason. Sampath writes about his offensive Delhi Police Guide to making women safe, where he gets overly offensive for no reason which kills any reference to humour. Any book to get popular has to have celebrity names thrown in, Sampath tries hard to forcefully introduce Arnab Goswami, Niira Radia, Ajay Dev into this book and I struggled to get over those chapters. The chapters on Using Chewing Gum & Are you a Delhi or a Mumbai Person coming in between the remaining chapters gets you to finish the ordeal.