I do not read popular fiction or any book that is categorized as chick-lit. I am wary of them, because there are dime a dozen of them, sprouting like crazy in the country. I try not to read them or take any requests for reviewing them. However, this time round I decided to read something that was written in a lighter vein and picked up, “Those Thakur Girls” by Anuja Chauhan and I can only say that I have never laughed this hard while reading a book. This book came as a much needed break from the heavy handed literary fiction and non-fiction that I was lapping up no end.
“Those Pricey Thakur Girls” is not chick-lit, well not at least according to me. It is fiction, popular fiction if anything else. It is also Jane Austen in Delhi, or rather hints and traces of Pride and Prejudice in Delhi in the 80’s and just by that you should know that it is a romp of a read. At the same time, Anuja Chauhan touches on the political and social issues of those times, however does not let the novel dwell on it too much. The book if anything is that of the romantic comedy genre and as I said before, I loved it.
The setting: Hailey Road in Delhi. The family: But obviously the Thakur clan. The characters: Justice Laxmi Narayan Thakur, his wife Mamta Thakur, and their five daughters, who are named alphabetically from A to E. Each daughter has her own eccentricities. Each daughter comes with her own opinions and way of living. Amidst all this is the fourth daughter Debjani, who essentially the story is about, of how she becomes a news reader on DeshDarshan (a tongue-in-cheek but obviously on the national channel) and the appearance of Dylan Singh Shekhawat (her father’s closest friend’s son) and but obviously the tone of the book is set – of misunderstanding, of romance and of whether or not they will get together.
What I loved about the book was the setting. Love in a pre-Internet era. I have not read anything else like this in a long time, and was taken in a lot with the setting. I could relate to some of the references, considering I am an eighties child and that was fun as I went along the book. Anuja’s writing mostly is funny and there were times I could not help but laugh out loud. The Indian families in the book automatically provide for so much fodder for humour and sarcasm. The characters are well-etched which was a surprise to me considering there are so many of them in the book – interlinked families in a growing metropolis.
I have never enjoyed a popular fiction book with such enthusiasm. I was almost sad when it came to an end. It is a good thing that I have not read any of Chauhan’s earlier works, which now means that I should before another one of her books is out.