Of love & longing

Of love & longing

It has all the trappings of an interesting tale — romance, action, drama and politics. Add to it the uncanny ability of the storyteller to narrate well. Little wonder then that Those Pricey Thakur Girls is intensely appealing.

Centred around Debjani Thakur, the fourth of the five beautiful, alphabetically-named daughters of Justice Laxmi Narayan Thakur, the story takes us on a romantic ride that’s at once captivating and awe-inspiring.

The story begins with Debjani, nicknamed Dabbu, readying herself for her debut as an English newsreader on Doordarshan. Even as she grooms herself for the same, we are introduced to her family members, and their idiosyncracies — her ever-tense mother whose only concern in life is to see her daughters happy; her proud father who can’t help but gloat about the beauty of his daughters; her younger sister Eshwari, a happy-go-lucky teenager who’s immensely popular in school; and her older sisters Anjini (the incorrigible flirt who thinks no end of herself), Binni (whose only aim in life is to get her share of her father’s property) and Chandu (whose very mention at home is taboo, for, she eloped with a foreigner on the eve of her wedding). If this reminds you of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, well, the comparison ends here.

Very soon, the story takes a romantic colour with the introduction of Dylan Singh Shekhawat, the feisty journo, the one with deep dimples and a lost look in his eyes. He comes visiting his parents in Delhi, happens to meet Dabbu, and then sparks fly. She hates him, for, his reputation as a flirt has reached her before him, while he can’t decide whether she’s ‘the one’ for him. After all, she reads the news on DD and, according to him, only the bird-brained do it!

The story then proceeds along predictable Mills & Boon lines, but manages to hold the readers’ interest because of the colourful characters it is peopled with. Talking of colourful characters, one can’t help but mention Chachiji, the judge’s younger brother’s wife, whose favourite pastime is to hurl profanities at her maid Dulari, the one who’s having a rollicking affair with her husband. And, of course, the judge’s sons-in law, and the grandchildren.

Well, over and above all the family drama and the love angle of the book is a sub-plot that’s even more engaging. The one that exposes the unholy nexus between a media house and a politician, to which an unsuspecting Dylan falls prey. It is the year following the assassination of Indira Gandhi and the anti-Sikh riots that broke out, killing many Sikhs. Dylan, deeply disturbed by this large-scale massacre of Sikhs in east Delhi, vows to bring the guilty to book. Will he succeed in his mission of bringing justice to the victims of these riots, and do Dabbu and Dylan realise their true feelings for each other, forms the crux of the story.

Written in an engrossing manner, Those Pricey Thakur Girls makes a delightful read. The characters are very earthy, human, complete with their share of follies. The only complaint I have against the author is the overuse of Hindi words, which can be quite annoying to readers outside the Hindi-belt. Dear author, is the book meant for general readers or only for people who are well-conversant in Hindi?

If willing to overlook this one drawback of the book, fasten your seat belts and allow Dabbu to take over your Sunday afternoon.

Those pricey thakur girls
Anuja Chauhan
Harper Collins
2013, pp 388
550

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