Saturday, 18 October 2014

Two sisters and some wonderful, witty writing

I have been reading a lot of so-called light stuff lately. But, light doesn't mean 'fluff' or 'dumb.' Far from it. I haven't read lots of chick-lit, so I don't know if Anuja Chauhan's writing qualifies under that segment. What I can tell you is that she is brilliant at what she writes. One of the reviewers had called her writing style 'Bharat meets India', and it's very apt description.
Only she could coin witticisms like 'Bhainscafe.' I guess 'Bhainscafe' doesn't sound terribly bright when singled out; put it in a perspective of the book (Battle for Bittora) and you are bound to break into laughter.
I read her last book, (Those Pricey Thakur Girls) first and her debut book, (The Zoya Factor) last. They aren't sequels so I didn't miss out on family history or some such trivialities.
She is one Indian author who has got the small town part, damn right. So, terms like 'Bhainscafe' and 'yeh to bada toingg hai' are, and not just seem, real. Also, having worked in the advertising for 17 years (or more) long, she gets the detailing very correct. Except that she doesn't have to fit it into a 2-3 minute long advt.
My personal favourite bit is that chapter in The Zoya Factor, in which the internet is swarming with suggestions, abuses about how lucky Zoya is for Team India (Anuja has combined cricket and advt in this one). Those who have been trawling the net, know how 'personal' this medium can get. Also, to spill the story further, the bit about Zoya cashing in on her image decides to shoot for an agarbatti brand, and in the emerging hoopla, is claimed by political parties as 'their own.' It's an Indian circus, alright.
In Battle for Bittora, two childhood friends, are pitted against each other in Lok Sabha elections (Sonam Kapoor and Fawad Khan are to star in the movie based on the book). One owes her political legacy to 'Secular' ideology and the other to the 'Rightist' party. One of them is a Hindu and another is Muslim. One is a girl and another is well, a man.
While they are slugging out in their constituencies,
some cleric sniffing their romance calls out for 'Love Jihad!' Besides Sarojini (Jinni) Pande and Zain Altaf Khan, the story is driven by Jinni's Amma, Pushpa Pandey, who is a canny, old politician. The descriptions, the whole trodding of the constituency and the people, Jinni meet is an authentic (or shall we use the word 'real') account – Anuja Chauhan's mom-in-law is Margaret Alva, an old Congress hand.
What do I say about Those Pricey Thakur Girls? I have already written an entire post on it. All I can add is that I am looking forward to read its sequel, 'The House that BJ built.'
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If I have to write about another book, which falls into the 'light' category, then it will be 'My Sister's Hurricane Wedding', written by Nandini Bajpai. She's Anuja Chauhan's sister, and like her is a delightful writer. It's written for Young Adults (YA), but I thoroughly enjoyed reading it. Both the sisters (they are four sisters) bring out the relationships really well. Maybe being one of the four sisters and several cousins (as their author's bio says), or just the fact that they are good writers, they have a firm grasp on the subject they are writing on.
The 'my' in the title, is Padmini Kapoor, who calls herself Mini Kapoor and drives a Mini Cooper! She is almost 17 and has decid
ed to get her older sister married off to her doctor boyfriend. Set in US, there are no hassles over a Punjabi girl getting married to a Tamilian boy. The only hitch is that there is no woman to take care of the preparations. Mini and Vini's (Yashasvini) mom has passed away six years ago because of cancer. And, their dad, Vinod, is in the process of setting up a start-up and wants to run away from all things Indian. Simply because his wife isn't there and he doesn't know how to handle himself in the scenario.
I guess my is writing too 'dry' about this book. But, as the words fly out from the keyboard, I'm transported to the pages of the book who weave love and laughter, misunderstanding and reconciliation, and the mother-daughters, older sister-younger sister bond! Do read! Reading about a normal, loving family is very reassuring. I want to take a break from reading about 'dysfunctional' families.

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