Writing humorous stories is no joke. Only a few have made a mark in this genre, with originality and wit. Some have excelled in writing humorous articles but have not been successful in writing a full-length, structured humorous novel or a short story. Bhagyam Ramasami is an exception. Reading him is absolute delight.

He has churned out numerous short stories and novels with the hugely popular ‘Appusamy’ and ‘Seethapaatti’, and readers have developed a deep sense of attachment towards these fictitious characters. It is to the credit of the author that nowhere in the 79 short stories, he had resorted to contrived situations. They are utterly natural.

Appusamy has a penchant for creating problems for himself and running into trouble, and it is almost invariably given to his sophisticated, English-muttering wife, Seethapaatti, to play the saviour and trouble-shooter. Every time he commits a blunder or picks up courage to ‘challenge’ her, he lands in a mess, only to be rescused by her at the end. One can fault this formula, but the end product is indeed hilarious.

There are, of course, exceptions. where Appusamy gains an upper hand (Appusamy Seidha Kidney Dhaanam, Thuppillaa Dhuppattisami, etc.). Seethaapatti’s arch rival Geethapaatti, the Kannada-speaking Bhimarao and the innocent Rasagundu are the supporting characters in some of the episodes. He uses puns and similes cleverly to heighten the impact.

Bhagyam Ramasami combines in himself consummate skill in situational humour as well as narrative humour, a rare double (Witness: Akaasavaniyil Appusamy, En Purushan, etc.). Preface apart, the author has chosen the 80th episode to tell readers how he shaped some of the stories with the guidance of his editor-cum-mentor. Sure to turn anyone to cheerful mood.

APPUSAMY-80 (Vols. 1&2): Bhagyam Ramasami; Poompuhar Pathippagam, 127 Prakasam Salai, Chennai-600108. Price: Rs.330 & Rs.350.

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