Don’t pull down
if it don’t pull you up
That’s just how it goes on the ladder. Girls, chicks, fillies, women, MILFs, cougars; Srinivas Ramachandran will take them all. To get a leg up. Okay, not all. Only the ones with bucks and clout! Mohina Sethi was one of his earliest hit-and-run victims.
Twenty years later, they meet in Munnar.
Sri has his head full. His is a story that begins with a bathtub on the rooftop, the goddess of trifling matters
and a white plastic bag.
Mohina has her hands full. For starters, her tale features a meagre bust-line, a marriage on the bounce and
a nineteen-year-old who’s had an abortion.
Going out of her mind, Mohina agrees to hear him out. Twenty days on—in his tale—Sri has landed up at a
party... wearing a garland of blue sanitary pads.
Reality stands on its head when a man climbs higher by reaching lower
Suguna Sundaram, ex-editor of Stardust and Cine Blitz, warns
Not a word I would have used for Sandeep Jayaram, the creator of this story, when we first met around 18 years ago at a common friend’s glamorous and happening photo studio. Basking in the sunshine of youth and skipping over the shadows of folly, ladders had not taken root in our then ‘un-perspicacious’ minds.
A humungous quantity of beers, malts and malaises, and many conversations later, two decades were done—flown by, without even the realization on my part that we had missed seven years when the demons in Sandeep’s mind unfriended me on Facebook. He will never be allowed to live that down; it is now penned into posterity. In any case, Sandeep is never going to make it as the poster boy for lasting Facebook relationships.
But as time and that tantalizing experience called life trundled on, a healthy respect (grudgingly, if ever) was admitted for the mind-boggling realms this man’s mind and words traversed. The beer sessions still hopped when we managed to catch up periodically. The salt and pepper on his pate hadn’t been achieved by basking in the sun, as they say. I had become a journalist and gone on to become the Editor for two leading Indian film publications, Stardust and CineBlitz, poles away from Sandeep’s own colourful journey as a teacher of drama, and then the English language itself—he has his own academy.
Asked by Sandeep to pen the foreword for this book, I was both flummoxed and flattered. Given the current social climate, this story is to be read with an open mind, beginning with the title itself. It is in no way dismissive or misogynistic. Truthfully, it is deep irreverence that marks this tale as also his attitude to life… Sandeep loves women. Devotedly. As you will discover from rung one of the ladder, all the way to the last, no matter the direction you are moving in—upwards or downwards.
Sandeep is able to create a subtle something that knits itself into a pattern the reader would never guess was forming. In fact, you might find an idea incomplete in its first appearance only to realize it is profoundly linked to another thought or sentence later in the book. His analogies are unbelievably original and outré in the visuals they create. In fact, the entire tale is vividly shocking with implied or imagined visuals. Sandeep’s descriptive slays! His language would endear him to the most vicious grammar Nazi and then some. As someone who has proofread and corrected copy for over three decades—damn near made me forget English— ‘A Ladder Of Panties’ is ‘the shit’.
Outrageously hilarious, it is also dark, convoluted and eternally mind-boggling. It delves into the mess we make of our lives, but does so deeeyaaaam neatly. Unbridled in its expression—here’s that warning again—Sandeep’s tale of love and ladders is not for the weak-spirited.
Sandeep Jayaram is perspicacious!
‘...a highly enjoyable story with great cultural influences, a beautiful writing style and an excellent overall message.’
~ 5 star review from KC Finn, Readers’ Favorite, USA.
‘Jayaram displays a solid gift for social satire, and his detestably fascinating protagonist is a welcome addition to seriously funny fiction.’
~ BlueInk Review, USA.
‘...unexpected, refreshingly different images packed into as little as a single line.’
~ Diane Donovan, senior reviewer, Midwest Book Review, USA.
‘As a creative piece of contemporary literature set in South Mumbai, A Ladder of Panties represents a perfect dose of satire and reality.’
~ The late Mani D’Mello, ex-city editor, Free Press Journal & ex-editor, Times of India (West Mumbai).
‘The writing is pacey, the end is satisfying and Sandeep Jayaram has a knack for dialogue that keeps you engaged. In other words: if you have to spend time with the wrong guy, you could do worse than Srinivas Ramachandran.’
~ Deepa Menon, ex-executive editor, Femina, Mumbai.
‘…touchingly realistic and relatable to, readers with a sense of humour will thoroughly enjoy the new levels Jayaram’s writing takes one to.’
~ Poonam Dhandhania, author, not just The Small Book Of Meditation.
As a child, Sandeep had incredibly high fevers and ended up taller after these bouts. As a teenager, he had the privilege of being declared dead but came back to life. The same height. Besides these medical marvels, Ra, his Alsatian, taught him the best life lessons. After Ra’s death, sixteen years ago, it’s been this, that and not getting fat.
On another slant, he think he’s clairvoyant. Need evidence? The central character in A Ladder Of Panties, who is a voice actor, was created years ago. Today, Sandeep has become one. Another prediction? Naah! That one’s for the reader!
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