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Bibek Debroy says it with limericks!

Bibek Debroy provides a very intellectual morning fix for many readers. His famed limericks (a humorous five-line poem with a rhyme scheme aabba) encapsulate current events in a short poetic burst. It leaves the readers with a smile and a different insight into what is happening in the world around us.

Penguin has compiled some of these limericks in book form. Bibek Debroy’s The Book of Limericks is a commentary on 2017. While the book is filled with brilliant limericks, the illustrations accompanying each limerick do complete justice to the experience of reading the book.

These witty verses are based on current events. In a few rhyming lines the limericks reflect social, political and economic themes and events.

For instance, we can all recollect an incident from last year, involving a politician getting abusive with airline crew. He puts it thus:

This MP is a crassy chopper,

Deft in wielding a dusty slipper,

He gave the crew several whacks.

Downgraded now to railway tracks, 

How will he next flap his flipper? 


Of the infamous board battles that marked last year, he says….


Why is an internal board battle

Grist for media prattle and tattle?

Is it because a backseat mentor 

Remains a perpetual tormentor,

Treating a company like personal chattel? 


Or the issue with China

The dragon breathes more fire 

Threatening consequences dire,

With Bhutan in sight 

It displays its might,

But there is nothing to make India perspire. 


There are few limericks that transcend specific time bound current events. These are a general comment on societal trends, and not related to a specific political event.


After International Yoga Day 

Don’t stow that may away.

A fetish once a year

Will make it appear

As no more than a symbolic sobriquet.


One which particularly moved me is:


At least once a year

Gandhiji is held dear.

Motions having been made

And due respect paid,

Life moves back to the usual gear.


Some of the limericks can be read with a new perspective, now that the year has gone by and situations have changed.

Is the rampaging bull

Covering our eyes with wool?

Does the tango with growth

Not do justice to both?

Does capital market lug more than real can pull?


In short, a great book for a different kind of reflection on the year gone past!


Though I’m no Bibek Debroy, here’s a little ode to the book, in limerick-style of course!


Digest the year past in poetic form

Minus sensationalism and storm

A souvenir of the year gone by…

Read and devour news differently…at least try!

Who knows what insights can be drawn?


While all his fans continue to relish his limericks that appear in the Mint newspaper, I’m sure the of 2018 will call for a new compilation for the year gone by in true Bibek Debroy style!

Title: The Book of Limericks 

Author: Bibek Debroy

Illustrator: Sayan Mukherjee

Publisher: Penguin

Genre: Non-Fiction, Current Affairs



Dhanishta Shah

Dhanishta is a Counselling Psychologist and a freelance writer. She is the Founder of Bookedforlife.