Romesh’s tale is packed with pathos and laughs

Gloucestershire Echo - - NEWS - By ED STILLIARD

ROMESH Ran­ganathan is known for his dead­pan hu­mour so his talk at The Times and The Sun­day Times Chel­tenham Lit­er­ary Fes­ti­val was des­tined to sell out.

The Craw­ley co­me­dian has achieved in­ter­na­tional fame with his Asian Provo­ca­teur shows vis­it­ing Sri Lanka and Amer­ica, with his mum never too far out of the pic­ture.

Ac­tu­ally it’s his mum, Shan­thi, who has be­come the sur­prise break­out star with her de­voted but de­spair­ing at­ti­tude to­wards her son.

She wasn’t at the fes­ti­val when Romesh spoke about his au­to­bi­og­ra­phy, Straight Outta Craw­ley. When he sat down to write the book he in­tended it to be funny but it led to some home truths com­ing out.

Many of the 1500-strong au­di­ence were there to hear him talk about his life grow­ing up south of Gatwick air­port.

Af­ter jok­ing about his ca­reer prior to be­com­ing a co­me­dian, the at­mos­phere sobered up when he be­came frank about the up­heaval he and his fam­ily en­dured when he was young.

His fa­ther, Ranga, cheated on his mother and left her, forc­ing Romesh and his fam­ily into fi­nan­cial strife and their house be­com­ing re­pos­s­esed.

Some time later his fam­ily dis­cov­ered Ranga had gone to prison for two years for fraud. Ranga’s ab­sence led to a frac­tured re­la­tion­ship with Romesh and led to an ar­gu­ment when Romesh was at uni­ver­sity.

But there was plenty of hu­mour: as well as jok­ing about some of the schools he taught at, he re­mem­bered his work at KFC, which con­flicted with his ve­g­an­ism.

It forced him to eat a lot of corn on the cob, rather than the usual fried chicken of­fer­ing in the restau­rants.

But his di­etary choice has also been ex­pen­sive. He ad­mit­ted to spend­ing be­tween £600 and £700 on ve­gan cheeses which he said were “un­ac­cept­able”.

“Why are work­ing on dis­eases when we haven’t worked on ve­gan melt­ing cheese? It’s a dis­grace!”

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