Read Mr Iyer Goes To War by Ryan Lobo Online


Dispatched to a home in the sacred city of Varanasi, Lalgudi Iyer spends his days immersed in scripture. When an accident leaves him with concussion, he receives a vision of his past incarnation - he was the mythological warrior Bhima, sent from the heavens to destroy evil. Convinced of his need to continue Bhima's mission and revive the noble principles of the MahabharataDispatched to a home in the sacred city of Varanasi, Lalgudi Iyer spends his days immersed in scripture. When an accident leaves him with concussion, he receives a vision of his past incarnation - he was the mythological warrior Bhima, sent from the heavens to destroy evil. Convinced of his need to continue Bhima's mission and revive the noble principles of the Mahabharata, Iyer embarks on an epic adventure down the sacred Ganges with the help of his trust companion Bencho, an undertaker. His attempts at restoring order to the world - and winning the heart of the half-beautiful but oblivious widow Damayanti - are hampered only by his complete detachment from the reality of contemporary India. An inventive, ambitious interpretation of Don Quixote for our times, Mr Iyer Goes to War is a sometimes playful, profound adventure heralding a bold new voice in Indian fiction....

Title : Mr Iyer Goes To War
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9781408881651
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 224 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Mr Iyer Goes To War Reviews

  • Madhulika Liddle
    2018-10-12 21:08

    In the very early years of the 17th century, Miguel de Cervantes created one of fiction’s most enduring characters, the redoubtable hidalgo, Don Quixote de La Mancha. Accompanied by his faithful sidekick Sancho Panza, Don Quixote sets out on a mad quest to be the chivalrous cavalier, each deed dedicated to his lady love, a village girl on whom he has bestowed the grand-sounding name of Dulcinea. Ryan Lobo’s ‘hero’, Lalgudi Iyer, is a Don Quixote with his own distinctly Indian quirks. Abandoned by his family, who have dumped this sixty-something Tam-Brahm in Kashi, to eke out the last days of a precarious existence, game leg and all. Until one momentous day, when Mr Iyer takes a toss and hits his head on a stone Shiva lingam—and ends up convinced he is none other than the warrior brahmachari, Bhima, who must vanquish the all-consuming demon Bakasura. He also falls in love with the ‘half-beautiful’ (half her face is scarred by an acid burn) widow Damayanti, whom he promptly designates the Panchakanya of Benares, and to whom he dedicates each victory as he sets out on a quest to defeat Bakasura. With him is the Dom, Bencho, who deserts his job as cremator of the dead in order to pursue his dream of becoming a politician, having believed Mr Iyer’s self-confidently bombastic claim that the first town Mr Iyer defeats will become his, Bencho’s, domain. And so they go, on a crazy spree down the Ganges, accompanied part of the way by Bencho’s donkey Trishala. Saving an ill-treated (and thieving) boy from a boss who’s thrashing him, coming to the aid of a bunch of criminals, seeing Bakasura in every Tom, Dick and Harry who crosses Mr Iyer’s path. This is mad adventure at its best, going at breakneck speed and with hilarious mishaps at every twist and turn.Despite that, Mr Iyer Goes to War is not just farce. And it is not just a story that, in its essentials, bears a resemblance to that of Don Quixote. It is distinctly and definitely 21st century Indian, with all the quirks and idiosyncrasies that define this land and this time. It is about caste politics, the pollution of the Ganga, the self-centred preoccupation with oneself that excludes even one’s own immediate family. It is, too, about human nature: about dreams and ambitions, and the reluctance to let those be stifled. Mr Iyer’s assertion that he is Bhima, duty-bound to destroy Bakasura, may be put down to the ravings of a concussed (and anyway senile) old man, but there is in that lunatic belief a glimmer of truth. Do we not, most of us (if not all) yearn for a more interesting existence? Do we not, somewhere—even if perhaps only in a less jaded childhood and youth—imagine ourselves as the victors of some grand battle, even if the enemy is not a demon but something more practical, more fitted to this world? Human life is inextricably bound up with dreams, with aspirations and goals, no matter how ludicrous they may seem to the outside world, and it is these dreams that drive not just Mr Iyer, but everybody else in this tale: Bencho, Damayanti, the man who runs the home where Iyer lives. Lobo’s book is a delight: a funny, satirical, loony romp and a poignant, often heart-warming tale in which humanity triumphs, the good eventually wins and the wicked are trounced. A tale for all times, and a thoroughly enjoyable one at that. (From my review for The New Indian Express:

  • Vishal Talreja
    2018-10-09 22:16

    How fascinating a story. Into the realms of imagination this book took me through the journey of the main character. You love him, you laugh at him, you worry about him and your become him. He was me in so many ways, in my imaginations and my journeys where I am the hero. I felt deeply connected to him until I am brutally brought back to my reality. Superbly written.

  • Vivek
    2018-09-24 16:17

    one crazy adventure

  • Ira
    2018-10-12 17:05

    Mr Iyer is a kind of book which would make you set aside your plans and keep you gripped till the very end. It is a fast paced and moving adventure tale of an old and endearing idealist and his street smart but naive sidekick. The story is set in the context of modern India. The author does not romanticize the country or human nature, writing of "the good, the bad and the ugly", and does it with a great sense of humor and self-evident love of life.

  • Abhyudaya Shrivastava
    2018-10-08 15:12

    A very quick read indeed. Mr. Lalgudi Iyer hits his head on the ghat steps in Benaras and starts thinking he is the reincarnation of Bhima- the Mahabharata warrior. Not as hilarious as you would think. It is a profound story by a proficient writer. I found two typos in the book. Bloomsbury really needs to up their game in India. The book is magical, well-written and witty. I wish there was more of it and also more to it. A great promise, nonetheless.

  • Tejaswi Uthappa
    2018-10-12 18:10

    A logic-defying, maverick, rollercoaster of a thriller 3D read. Popcorn, anyone?"When Gregor Samsa woke up one morning from unsettling dreams, he found himself changed in his bed into a monstrous vermin”. Even in translation, even with the day’s twitter-size sensibilities, and even though very few find succour in the existentialist stronghold of Franz Kafka’s writing, his most unforgettable opening line of The Metamorphosis, haunts. This is not just because the writing is stark but because the imagery connects at a basic level of humanity’s absurd struggle for emotional wellbeing. Cut to Varanasi.Ryan Lobo’s debut protagonist, Mr Iyer, breaks free from the absurdity of his own existence and takes us on a fantastical rampage, all too real. The Ganges flows unperturbed, as two accomplished gentlemen lay on adjacent hospice beds, waiting to die, alone. While one fought for the country and has a gallantry medal honouring that service, the other, Mr Iyer, is a warrior of words and learning, gallant in his pursuit of fine literature that finds expression every now and again in erratic tirades of mindless whim and exasperation. Lalgudi Iyer is over 70, proficient in the scriptures and strong-willed. He has a very keen chela, the ever-eager disciple who more than makes up for his Dom lowliness with an almost awe-inspiring passion for esoteric verses, writing his own and quoting from grand literary canons that erudite Iyer brandishes from time to time. While Iyer awaits spiritual enlightenment, Bencho’s aim is to become the Corporator of his own constituency and sees his ticket to power in Iyer’s earthly family connections. One morning, painful knee miraculously unlocked, concussed and with his mind free of sanity, Mr Iyer Goes to War. But unlike Kafka’s Samsa who gets trapped as a ‘monstrous vermin’, Lobo’s Iyer flees to freedom, traversing the length and breadth of India, ridding it of its evils. The Ganga-side re-creation of Don Quixote, duly packaged with a sanchoesque Bencho as loyal sidekick, Iyer, fulfils all heroic desires that ordinarily occupy, and remain imprisoned in, the mortal subconscious. Armed with a stick and no more, this divine hero from the realms of mythology, dramatically overpowers gun-toting henchmen and rescues hapless earthlings. And because he is also hapless in his human love for the ‘half-beautiful’ Damayanti, the resplendent Goddess of his fantasy-world inspires loftier heroics in his superhuman leaps as well. Sent by the Gods, he wields a fearless spirit, speaks like an ancient noble, kneels in chivalric submission and unleashes a caged tiger. Of course, he gets beat up too, along with Bencho, but that’s immaterial. Because, this is not Iyer, see? This is Bhima, the fearsome and gallant warrior prince, saviour of mankind and vanquisher of Bakasura, the force behind all things evil. Like Don Quixote, Iyer rises from a tired, finite certainty, into a space unconquered by worldly predicament. If you are looking for a plot in Ryan Lobo’s riotous debut, you won’t find one. And that’s what makes this modern and fun take on existential absurdity, intriguing. Real in the human situation he carves for storytelling and even more real in the intercutting of fact and fantasy through quick-take action sequences, Ryan Lobo’s photographic lens-work runs amok through the narrative and keeps the reader on edge. Don’t look for logic here – you’ll have to delve deep and even there, you might just get entangled in your own. But if a riot works for you, you’ll be talking about this for a while. First posted on

  • Shreya Vaid
    2018-09-27 17:08

    Inspired by the story of Don Quixote and Sancho Panzathe, Mr. Iyer Goes to War by Ryan Lobo is a light heart read, a book that made my Sunday a little bit brighter. Set in the town of Varanasi, famous for its ghats and places where people come to die, this picturesque story is a classic example of how simple plots with strong characters makes up for a good read for everyone.Mr. Lalgudi Iyer, a thin Brahmin who has been left to die by his family in a Varanasi house, is a compulsive reader who spends his days reading mythology, and at times whatever comes into his hand. Apart from this, Mr. Iyer is a loser in past life, suffers from psychotic disorder and also believes he's an incarnation of Bhima who has reborn to kill Bakasura, the evil that prowls on our earth.His sidekick is Bencho, a man from the lower cast who works on the Ghats, helping in picking up dead bodies of old people who die in the house and looking after their cremation. But the ghats are not sufficient for Becho, who aspires to become a politician one day. After a series of incidents and attempts, Iyer successfully escapes from the house and sets out on a journey to vanquish Bakasura. He is followed by his faithful Bencho, who is also his protector and also usurps his master's lack of good sense to serve his own ends. There's also Trishala, Bencho's donkey to complete the trio.While Iyer is kind and batty at times, he treats Bencho as his equal, never commenting on his caste. But yes, the power of hierarchy looms over him all the time. As the three travel to different places, they come across a variety of characters, a truck driver beating up his help, a politician's bored wife, and yes, a circus tiger as well. Each encounter is narrated in a hilarious way and keeps the reader engaged till the end.The idea behind Mr. Iyer Goes to War I should say is pretty ambitious and daring. Attempting to recreate the magic of Don Quixote and Sancho Panzathe using characters like Iyer and Bencho have been fruitful for Ryan Lobo. In the beginning, the plot looks strong, keeping the reader engaged and on the edge of their chair. The crux of the story is such, where an old man and his disciple are going around places, trying to remove the injustice and darkness from the face of the earth.But then somewhere down the line, the story is not that strong anymore. It starts dwindling at some areas, which may make a reader put down the book. But the climax is such when you grab Mr. Iyer Goes to War a bit tighter in your hands, and a small sweet feeling of reading a light story with strong characters kicks in. The climax starts building up when Iyer hurls his broken dumb phone into the river, and Bencho gets him a new smartphone. Within minutes, Iyer masters the technology, proof being his newly set up email address, an iCloud account and the brains to use it for the benefit of their mission.The idea that Mr. Iyer wants to restore the balance of the world is only hampered by his complete detachment from the reality of India today is another brilliant idea behind this book. Reading Mr. Iyer Goes to War was like reading a new bold voice in Indian Fiction! But yes, a reader who picks it up for pleasure and not out of curiosity, may not go far with it.All in all, make sure you grab a copy because you should not miss this one. A story that may leave you in splits, and at times may leave you stupefied at the brilliance of characters.

  • Shrinidhi
    2018-09-30 16:05

    "A true Brahmachari swims in the sea of insanity where a normal person would drown" says the quirky seventy-year-old Lalgudi Iyer, who thinks of himself as the reincarnation of Bhima and the harbinger of truth and justice to this world. This is a wonderful character created by Mr.Lobo which is the strongest point of the book.Mr Iyer, along with his crony Bencho-the dom at the ghat, Trishala- the donkey and US returned Dr.Krishna make up the different pieces of this tale of a delusional old man with a fancy for adventure. Starting at Kashi and ending in Allahabad Kumbh mela, it's a Don Quixote-esque journey of Mr. Iyer with Bencho, who dreams of becoming a vidhayak someday, by his side.It gets too melodramatic towards the end,which i didn't like, but it is still a charming read overall.

  • Todayiamadaisy
    2018-10-18 19:07

    Lalgudi Iyer, whose family has placed him in a rest home by the Ganges, slips and hits his head, realising that he is the reincarnation of the hero Bhīma. He escapes from the home with the help of his friend Bencho, and the two of them go on the run down the river, fighting injustices. Eventually, they return home, only to make another escape and go on a second adventure involving a politician.So yes, it's Don Quixote set in India. I found it wildly improbable that all the people they met separately in the first half turned out to be connected in the second half, but once I decided to treat it as a sort of dreamscape, it all seemed to flow better. (I still found the political plot a bit confusing.)

  • Tavishi
    2018-10-09 17:10

    3.5 actually. Lobo's writing tickles your senses. Although the book lacks a plot (ironically, mentioned by Bencho towards the end of the book), the scenes are vivid and dynamic. I would not necessarily read this book for its story but for the style of writing. The adventures of Iyer 'sir' and Bencho are reminiscent of an older Bollywood era coupled with, undoubtedly, a Cervantes era. I look forward to more of Lobo's work.

  • Neelakantan K.K.
    2018-09-22 22:20

    An interesting read. The novel is brilliant, and funny, in parts, but it also tends to drag in quite a few places. Overall, worth a read.

  • Ravi Chander
    2018-09-28 20:10

    The author has tried to write an Indian version of Don Quixote. The book is funny and an easy and quick read. Good for light reading.

  • Sanjana
    2018-09-23 18:25

    Very fun, very vividly imagined, very tangible book, that one reads and feels at the same time. Raced through it, even though there are some ponderous parts that try to drag it down. Luckily Ryan comes back quickly from them, and keeps the pace, and the narrative consistent.

  • Pras Murukesvan
    2018-10-02 18:13

    Thoroughly enjoyed this book. It takes you through an enjoyable winding road through Hindu mythology, love, friendship, etc through the lense of humour and satire.

  • Deepak Saxena
    2018-09-25 15:58

    An interesting and witty read set in contemporary India but connecting to its past. At the same time, plot and events feel rather surreal. Good for a quick read during a journey or over a weekend.

  • Jurgen
    2018-09-25 21:08

    Upon my visit to the Bangalore Literature Festival in December 2016 I was stunned by some of the great books and writers I came across. Ranging from poets, to historians, to novelists,... the rich program and highly addictive bookstore were a total quench for my Indian literature thirst. Beyond some other great sessions I saw there I had the honour to see a live discussing between Ryan Lobo and Raghu Karnad. Both are amazing writers and Raghu Karnad could not have been a better host to interview Ryan Lobo. I had not heard of Mr. Lobo's work before but with the amount of enthusiasm Raghu Karnad was praising the book... they had me hanging to the edge of my front row seat. The in depth talk between the two writers was intriguing, discussing a modern version on the never-ever dying Don Quichote, the political and religious climate of India, and the film and photography background of Ryan Lobo. All that in a jam-packed 30 minutes talk. When the session ended it made me realise I was out all out of Rupees and I had to run down the block to find a local ATM in order to get back to that addictive bookstore. So I did, and I managed to find one of the last copies of 'Mr.Iyer goes to war' remaining in the bookstore. Satisfied I was and so I started reading immediately.I couldn't put the book down and slammed it in just a few days. Go ahead and read it, it's going to take you on a wild and truly adventurous ride in a Cervantes-like Don Quichotte setting, travelling along the Ganges, plunging into waterfalls, raging like a man possessed and reaching multiple crescendos to an explosive ending. In the end... well, in the end, I won't spoil the end... But the ending is perfect. The book takes you in, lifts you up and settles you down. Thank you Ryan!

  • Prashanth Kanichar
    2018-10-21 19:10

    Mr iyer goes to war by Ryan lobo is worth a read. you heard or read 'don't Quixote' right. here is the Indian version with more Witty ness. lalgudi iyer is a aged Tamil brahmin. his brother sent him to khanolkars home to heal his mental affliction. but due to an accident leaves with concussion and he thinks he was bhima and he has to destroy bakasura the evil. here starts the adventures of bhima aka Mr iyer with his companion bencho. funny narration with some hard hitting truths. I loved this book

  • Sukanto
    2018-10-03 22:00

    Equal part wit and fun!

  • Pritam
    2018-10-04 23:19

    Touching, lovely unforgettable characters.

  • Siobhan
    2018-10-03 18:57

    Mad, sometimes depressing but overall enjoyable