Friday, December 9, 2011

Battle for Bittora by Anuja Chauhan

First, have you read her first book? I mean “Zoya Factor” that brilliant story of the advertising account executive from Karol Bagh who enchants the Indian cricket captain. That is the stuff of romance! If you have not read it, please read the book and then come back. And yes like the Santoshi Ma prayer, it can be read by men and women (pratyek istri purush) – the combination of Indian urban-speak, cricket and lust is heady enough to draw anybody in. And if you started counting the pages towards the end of Zoya Factor, willing it not to end, then obviously you are going to put in an order for Anuja Chauhan’s second offering and not read a word of this. Like that has shut me up.

Anuja Chauhan is an army kid who grew up to work in advertising, spearheading the Pepsi Dil Mange More campaign and more and surely liaised with cinema and cricket stars in the course of her career. She has mined her experiences to produce Zoya Factor.

Chauhan is also married into a prominent political family in Delhi. So this time we have Battle for Bittora, a Lok Sabha constituency being fought over by the male and female love interests. How delicious! The book is fast paced and lives up to the promise of the exciting premise, the plot twisting and turning fantastically and wonderfully. Chauhan has a wicked sense of the ridiculous, an awesome eye and ear for humorous detail and a wonderful grip over Hinglish, and she wields these majestically all over the book. If she makes a point about the system, which has its vice-like grip on the politicians as firmly as it has trapped the people, she does it in a super-blasé manner befitting the chick-lit tag of the book. By the way, Chauhan makes solid points all the way, without getting too caught up in it and derailing the romance. The book could be a metaphor for the young and bright India – very sensitive and spunky and cognizant but not so sensitive that they stop having fun. There I go again, on my serious trip… I could do with another dollop of the Chauhan pick-me-ups. Talking of which, you don’t have to worry about the moral dilemma of dating your political opponent, this is a new age book, so the woman gets the man of her dreams and achieves her dreams even if she is not sure what her dreams are!

And the hero is lean, taut and chiseled with sinewy forearms, a honey gold complexion, and great lines. And an ex-prince. Am I slobbering? Never mind.

Also never mind the curled lips and the raised eyebrows and the pulse that throbs in his jaw- that kind of rubbish that has made its appearance in Bittora (do not remember it in Zoya). It is I suppose the price one has to pay if one is reading a first class romance, labeled first class chick-lit. Anyway it does not deter us too much.

Oh Read it already. I read it in twenty hours- one sitting. But Zoya is the better book.

His latest status update (9 hrs ago)- Zain is thinking that old friends are the best friends one can have after all…

There were 7 comments in response to his status.

Hey who are you calling old? Bunty Sisodia …who was always after Zain to open a Sholay themed pub in London called the The Thakur’s Arms. He thought that was the height of wit.

So true…So true…from some random looking gora who had a toddler sitting on his shoulders

And five responses from various simpering bimbos saying cheesy things like Time is relative and Bonds can be made in one eternal moment and It matters not how far you go back but how deep you go, which was frankly obscene if you ask me.

I wonder if Anuja Chauhan’s talent is in simply tapping the rich vein of absurdity that runs through all our lives. Be that as it may, (would Awar Pappu say that in B4B?) she draws it out best and sets it off to maximum advantage. Love her.

And some more
And Salmon Khan, the maverick movie star and shirtless crowd puller, who was campaigning for whichever candidate took his fancy, regardless of party or ideology, made a speech urging people to vote for 'good purrsons', which got five thousand hits in two hours on You Tube. Wearing a tight sleeveless T shirt and a wire hairband, he declared that, 'it didn't matturr what kind of clothes you worrre, as long as you were a good purrson with a purrre hearrt- and that if you wurrr a pooorr purrson, and couldn't afforrrd good clothes, then you should at least wearr clean clothes. And drrrive carrrefully. Without drrrinking, Jai Hind.'

I think I am a groupie.

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