I have been reading a lot about Anuja Chauhan, the one who came up with the now famous Pepsi tagline – Nothing official about it! She is the newest entrant, it seems, to the chick lit genre. I have not read chick lit, so I wasn't sure what to expect. References to marriages, good daughters, bad daughters....and Men. Men you can swoon over. Is that what one finds in chick lit? I still don't know.
I did read Chauhan's 'Those pricey Thakur girls', but I am not wiser to know if it qualifies the tag of chick-lit genre. Anyway, my reason for picking up the book, was purely personal. The book is set in the 80s, the decade in which I was born. And, it has a DD newsreader and a print journalist in conflict mode. Endearing, lost and looking for honest, kind and brave man, Debjani Thakur finds herself in love with Dylan Singh Shekawat. He of the Manglorean Christian and Rajput parentage and the fearless, young advocate of “Truth. Balance. Courage”, (motto of the paper he works for), falls in love with Debjani Thakur. Sparks fly, misunderstandings galore; end result: the two get married.
I haven't really spilled the beans. Their romance is just one fifth of the love and longing floating in the Thakur's Hailey Road bungalow. Five daughters, each prettier than the other. A retired judge for father, who loves his kot-piece. An easy-going mother, who keeps a sharp look-out on her five daughters and shows each one her rightful place in the house.
The innumerable suitors of the girls (married and unmarried), a Chachi who is a hysterical believer in jadoo-tona, a Chacha who is lusting after the maid and Gulgul bhaisaab, who can't clear LLB exams, but dreams of opening jim (gym). How did I miss the mongrels lining up the Hailey Road? And, the cat? It is she who gets the wedding bells to toll.
It's an interesting concoction of the crazy Indian family. But, I prefer the Lobsters over the Thakurs. Dylan's mother is Juliet Lobo, a Manglorean, referred to as “Lobster”, by her sons and students. The interaction between the Lobsters and Rajput is priceless. Hilarious. Not even Judgesaab's humour in naming his daughters, like a file system (A for Anjini, B for Binodini, C for Chandralekha, D for Debjani and E for Eeshwari), matches the rowdy, bawdy bawling between the Lobsters and Rajputs. Daisy Duck – Donny Noronha...priceless.
If you know your Jane Austen and don't want to be bothered by the Indian version (this is my opinion, strictly so) then don't read this book.
(Oh yes, the book is also about the State-sponsored Sikh genocide after Indira Gandhi's assassination and how DD tried to gloss over the facts. One paper covered the riots, killings and is still pursuing the case. Any guesses of the names of the publication?)