Wednesday, 20 January 2016

The Comedy of Everyday Life, a guest post by Nitin Deckha!

The Comedy of Everyday Life
Guest post by Nitin Deckha, author of The Real Estate of Things

I have long loved comedies. Perhaps it was due to my upbringing with its copious doses of television comedies from I Love Lucy, The Carol Burnett Show, Mary Tyler Moore and Rhoda in the 1970s to the madcap British ones piped in via PBS, such as Are You Being Served? and much later, Keeping up Appearances. In terms of international cinema, one of my favourite directors is Pedro Almodovar. I’d like to think, though, that my draw to comedy was its ability to emerge from the prosaic bits of everyday life that we all experienced in some way of other, unlike so much of the legal, criminal, medical, Sci-Fi, and AI elements that shapes today’s television drama. I also think I was fascinated by comedy’s ability to take uncomfortable contemporary issues and respond to social change in ways that were both vivid and entertaining; indeed, the comedies I mention, as I reflect now, tell the story of the transformational impact of feminism and ‘women’s voices’ and/in popular culture that has lasting effects.

I see comedic moments daily and everywhere: in my classrooms where I teach, in the mall, at the gym, at social gatherings from holiday parties to hockey arenas and certainly amongst my family members.  When I see comedic moments, I don’t necessarily mean that I burst out laughing. For me, it’s subtler than that. It’s as if through a gesture, a phrase, a behavior, something or someone makes me break into a grin which etches into my memory. I cherish those moments, not only for their ability to punctuate and refresh the fatal business of our lives but to remind me that I’m still alive and I’m still curious about the world around me. As a result, I often find these comedic moments as points of entry into the people’s lives, real and imagined that then may stir into a desire to spin a story. Indeed, my current novel, The Real Estate of Things, emerged from precisely one of these moments. I’ll say more about what inspired me to write The Real Estate of Things in a future post.

Nitin Deckha is the author of a collection of short stories, Shopping for Sabzi (2008). His fiction has been published in magazines, edited collections, and chapbooks and he has read his work across Canada, the US and India. In 2010, he was featured as part of the Canadian Writers in Person lecture series at York University, Toronto. Nitin holds a PhD in Anthropology and has taught social sciences for over a decade. More recently, he completed certification in Adult Training and Development (MCATD, CTDP) and crafts and leads learning and organizational change. He lives in Toronto. Contact him at @RealEstateofThi

Title: The Real Estate of Things
Author: Nitin Deckha
Genre: Literary Fiction

The Real Estate of Things is a comedic story about real estate, spirituality and politics in the sprawling, multicultural suburb of West York.
Fifty- ‐something Shaku Sehgal is looking for a new lease of life. With two grown kids and a supportive accountant husband who gardens, she’s followed her best friend, Neelam, into the exciting world of real estate. While she dreams of becoming the premier realtor of West York City, a position currently held by the much envied, Ruth Leslie, Shaku’s languishing at her current brokerage, SuperStar Realty.
To jumpstart her career, Shaku sneaks into a real estate conference and learns about a new redevelopment contest for a local derelict site. Part of the prize is to be an exclusive broker for the chosen new development. Shaku successfully pitches it to her brokerage, teams up with the young up- ‐and- ‐coming realtor, Jason Sevende, and they throw their hat into the contest.
Soon, Shaku and Jason find themselves competing against teams across the city, including Shaku’s friend, Neelam and the doyenne of luxury realty, Ruth Leslie. Not only that, the contest draws the attention of global spiritual guru, Chakra Sahib, and the ire of a seemingly anonymous movement protesting and threatening to derail the whole redevelopment.
Join Shaku, Jason and the band of realtors as they confront obstacles and reflect on the meanings of success, love and friendship in this epic race amongst realtors, The Real Estate of Things.


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