Purushottam Lakshman Deshpande (8 November 1919 – 12 June 2000), popularly known as Pu La Deshpande was a Marathi writer and humorist from Maharashtra, India. He was also an acclaimed film and stage actor, script writer and orator. He was also a musician; he used to play the harmonium. His books are filled with humour along with various other shades of moods. And each book portrayed the nature of people and the way they led their respective lives. And all his works have been translated into several languages including English and Kannada.
Now just so as you know, Marathi Literature is the oldest of the regional literature in Indo-Aryan along with Bengali Literature. In the 13th century, two Brahmanical sects arose which were the Mahanubhava and the Varakari Panth. And these two sects eventually shaped the Marathi Literature significantly. There are several noteworthy writers such as S.N. Pendse, Kusumagraj, G.N. Dandekar, Ranjit Desai, and Vinda Karandikar. But Pu La Deshpande was the one whose works were not only humour filled but it also taught many other things on various aspects of life. So let’s have a look at a few amusing books by Pu La Deshpande that can brighten up anyone anyday:
#1 Vyakti Aani Vyalli (व्यक्ती आणि वल्ली)
Vyakti Aani Vyalli is basically a collection of character sketches by Purushottam Laxman Deshpande. The sketches are actually inspired from real life characters. And they are as varied as people can be and are fascinating at the same time. The stories in this book were written over a period of more than 20 years, right from 1944 to 1968. Out of all the 20 stories in the book, the one about Bhaiyya Nagpurkar was the earliest one written by the author. Then there is Parophari Gampu, who would go out of the way to help people and the washer-man Namu Parit, who used to wear his customer’s clothes and never deliver them on time. Sakharam Gatne on the other hand is a school boy who speaks classic Marathi and is addicted to books. So the list can actually go on with a fine variety of characters reflecting the ironies of life. Nevertheless, this book earned the author a Sahitya Akademi Award.
#2 Asa Mi Asami (असा मी असामी)
Asa mi asami is a story of a lower middle class man who doesn’t want to make any impression on the world. He just wants to live a normal and happy life. But then he has to move on with life and change according to the society nonetheless. This book is genuinely a great autobiography that’s filled with humour. And the entire story is put though so well that at the end of reading this book, it will only leave a smile on your smile. It is indeed one of the best Pu La Deshpande books till date.
#3 Batatychi Chal (बटाट्याची चाळ)
Batatychi Chal is a story by Pu La Deshpande that is set in India during the 1940s. The story focuses on the inhabitants of a tenement called Batatyachi Chal in Girgaon (It is basically a locality in the city of Mumbai). So the families residing there belong to the lower middle class. And the residents include music teachers, school teachers, clerks and so on. The humorous and poignant narrative laments the decline of this class of people. It’s an absolute masterpiece on the daily lives and occurrences viewed through the writer’s experiences. And the book will make you laugh but at times without knowing draw tears too.
#4 Apoorvaai (अपूर्वाई)
Apoorvaai is a rib tickling pure Maharashtrian humor that takes you on a ride in various parts of the UK. And the way Pu La Deshpande describes the place, it feels like you are present right there. The vivid imagery is a treat to your reading senses, really! And his views about art, culture and life are simply amazing. So it is one the Marathi novels that’s simple, funny and very neatly delivered.
#5 Khillee (खिल्ली)
Khillee is a collection of views & opinions of Pu La Deshpande on socio-political conditions in the 80s. A few of these scripts were published in some of the well-known newspapers. And due to its amusing contents, the story could still be made relevant to the current situation. That being said, it is one of the best Pu La Deshpande books that’s worth reading. Really.
#6 Tee Phulrani (ती फुलराणी)
Tee Phulrani is another one of the Marathi novels by Pu La Deshpande. This book is the 13th edition of the classic Marathi play written by the author itself. And he based this play on G.B. Shaw’s famous English play, Pygmalion. But yes, he had made a few changes in the plot of the play making it suitable for the Marathi background & culture. The story has been delivered exceptionally well. And like all the other books by him, this book won’t disappoint Deshpande’s ardent readers as well.
#7 Ganagot (गणगोत)
Ganagot is a yet another collection of character sketches by Purushottam Laxman Deshpande. And the sketches are from real life characters and incidents. The characters in this book are very endearing. And this book Pu La teaches you to see what is beautiful and appreciate it. Some books and authors always make you feel very good and happy about this world and Pu La is one of them. So if you need a dose of happiness infused with humour, then do read this book. It will literally make your day.
#8 Rabindranath: Teen Vyakhyane (रवींद्रनाथ: तीन व्याख्याने)
Rabindranath: Teen Vyakhyane is a collection of 3 lectures delivered by the author at University of Pune that are collated & published in the form of the book. This book states the life of Rabindranath Tagore and also focuses on different aspects of the same. So if you are a fan of Rabindranath Tagore and Pu La Deshpande at the same time then you might just choose to read this book. And trust me, you won’t regret it.
#9 Purchundi (पुरचुंडी)
Purchundi is a book that’s more of a biography rather than a book that’s filled with humour. It’s about the author’s fond memories as a child. It’s about his experience the stage, literature and music and how he dealt with them. There are also a few interviews illustrated that will give a much better inner sight on Pu La’s life. So if you are a fan of Deshpande’s books then this one is a must have for your collection.
Pu La Deshpande books are filled with life and humour. It’s literally like a breath of fresh air when you read his books. So if you haven’t read any of the above mentioned books till now, go get a hold of them. Enjoy!
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