(You can read Part 1 here)
In recent years while browsing for chick-lits, I have come across ones written by Indian authors. I have read a few, but I mostly stay clear of them. The writing is terrible, the characters weak, and I come away from reading one feeling a bit sad and depressed. Everything seems forced from the plot to the dialogues. And why does the independent, progressive female protagonist have to swear too much, smoke a gazillion cigarettes and drink obscene amounts of alcohol. Or at the other end of the spectrum, live a sheltered life with her parents, with no idea what is going on in the world and whose only ambition is to marry a nice, kind man. There seems to be no balance and I just cannot identify with them.
But, there is an exception. I picked up a copy of ‘The Zoya Factor’ by Anuja Chauhan a few years ago. I loved it! Spunky and funny female protagonist, who likes to party and enjoys chilling with her dad; dashing, proud, drool-worthy, captain of the Indian Cricket team male protagonist; not to mention an interesting and enjoyable story line. Zoya who works in advertising, becomes the Indian Cricket Team’s lucky charm, when they realise that she was born at the exact moment that India won the 1983 world cup. Of course, team captain, Nikhil doesn’t believe in a silly thing like luck. I read somewhere that the book might be made into a Bollywood movie, eeks! Not looking forward to that.
I just finished reading, Anuja’s third book, ‘Those Pricey Thakur Girls’, this was even better than her first novel. Pride and Prejudice inspired– it is about five alphabetically named daughters growing up in the late 80s in Delhi. Debjani Thakur, daughter number four, is a newsreader at Doordarshan and her love-interest Dylan Singh Shekawat (Punjabi- Mangalorean mix) is an intrepid, investigative print journalist. The two leads combined with mad family and relatives, and with the addition of political masala gives rise to a humorous, intelligent and endearing story.
What I love about Anuja’s books, is that there is a some relatability and balance when it comes to her characters. I see shades of her characters in people I know and interact with. And that makes her books all the more enjoyable. The personality of each character is allowed to shine and the Thakur family certainly seems to have no dearth of them. And this is just the first in a series on the Thakur family, cannot wait for the next one.
Hopefully, I will come across more Indian chick-lits which are as balanced, funny and romantic as Anuja Chauhan’s. Any suggestions?