Review of “Gin and Lime, Whiskey or Wine?”
The tone in this book is high-browed and unquestionably smart, yet it is also down-to-earth with numerous anecdotes included as well, so it shouldn’t be off-putting to any audience. One of the chief strengths of this read is the fact that it celebrates those brave enough to face old age, mainly with laughter and other friends—and, hopefully a large pension! Written by Colonel Mahip Chadha, who was commissioned in 1966 into The Second Battalion/The Third Gorkha Rifles, it also includes fascinating insight into some of the military movements of India and Pakistan in yesteryear. Plus, some young men found their fortune only by signing up in the military, so a couple of their stories are brought to light. Colonel Mahip Chadha’s story didn’t end with the military, however, as he became the President of Helios Aviation, amongst other careers. When Chadha’s wife, Kiran, passed in 2010, he turned to writing. Besides “Gin and Lime, Whiskey or Wine?,” Chadha also has the books, “Grit, Guts and Gallantry” and “Soljer, Soljer” to his credit. In “Gin and Lime, Whiskey or Wine?,” there are also Indian dishes brought up which should delight many gastronomes, and the read even contains some Urdu (a combination of Hindustani and Persian) words and phrases which will bring pleasure to many logophiles as well. As Chadha mentions in the Preface, “Stories have to be told.” And, his love and respect for his father-in-law (Colonel Prahlad Singh Sethi, whom became like a father to him when his own passed) and other senior friends, sometimes referred to as the ‘Old Timers’, is reflected in this book—which is in large part a tribute to Sethi and his peers who were remnants of the Victorian era. Indeed, it’s Chadha’s “…story of this group as [he] witnessed it…” (Preface). As Chadha also brings to light in the Preface, “The feverish discussions [of the aforementioned group of seniors] also prevented the ingress of another intruder—dimentia or Alzheimers!” For entry into a world that most have never been and for the delightful humor and stories found within, then I’d recommend picking up a copy and checking it out!