The basic essence of any book is how tenderly the story is woven around the characters and the best part about a book by an Indian author is the little nuances of the Indian lifestyle captured just right. And there's an added flavour to the mix if the plot is surrounding faith, religion, family and marriage.
It's like you have read it before! It has an uncanny resemblance to Pride and Prejudice but Anuja Chauhan pulled off this Jane Austen very well up to the Indian standards.
To give a brief gist, the story is set in the capital which houses all the madcap protagonists.
Justice Laxmi Narayan Thakur and his wife Mamta spend their days residing in a sprawling bungalow on New Delhi's Hailey Road, along with trouble making damsels in distress, five alphabetically named daughters. The eldest and most beautiful Anjini followed by the greedy and self-centered Binodini, the not-present-here-anymore Chandrakanta, who eloped with a foreigner on the eve of her wedding, Eshwari, the tomboy studying in Modern School, Barakhamba Road; and the Judge's favourite (though fathers shouldn't have favourites) the feisty Debjani, who reads the English news on DD and is always at loggerheads with casanova/ journalist Dylan Singh Shekhawat, who seems to both intrigue and annoy her!
This book is a playful take on dysfunctional families which form the basis of the Indian culture. Set in the early nineties, this one is a rustic reminder of the times when aunties were busy making matches as soon as a girl comes of age and children still played hide and seek instead of video games. Reading the book which spans an earlier decade you get flashes of the peculiar things you have experienced then as a child and the tremendous change our country set up has seen both technologically and socially.
Also, detailed mentions about the infamous assassination of a Prime Minister and the conspiracies that followed, the dash of young blood and the power of press give you a brief look into history.
The book is cliché, speaking a lot about the mundane feelings of sibling rivalry, superstitions and possessiveness of parents. Somewhere between the pages incorporate a sweet love story which progresses from a crush to betrayal to true love. The protagonists are powerful characters with job profiles to die for and much expected, most wanted predictable happy ending perfect recipe for a film.
A popular Quora thread tells which actors could play the ensemble if it is made into a movie:
All in all the book is a delightful read and could soon be made into an absolutely masala Bollywood film.
Title image: ipopam