Why I wouldn’t ignore Anuja Chauhan & The House that BJ Built
5 years ago Shaili Desai 1
I found The House that BJ built by Anuja Chauhan on Kindle Unlimited. The Unlimited subscription has been useful. I have discovered new books which have been good to read – some of which I had dismissed as works by Indian authors of the Chetan Bhagat genre (Yes, the man’s defined a genre). I do not mean to be snobbish but I do not have patience for many books written only for a particular target audience – the kind which doesn’t read.
The argument that these books have helped that specific target audience start reading – well, that doesn’t really hold. These books don’t really wow you, are sometimes downright boring, apart from having clichéd story lines and massive plot holes. Sometimes they are also exhibits for half-baked writing clinging to regressive ideologies. The fact that they influence a very young audience isn’t something to be proud of. They also sell because they are cheap, priced competitively to attract its target audience. It may have been good for Indian publishing and made money but overall, I don’t think it has benefited literature as a whole.
I had dismissed Anuja Chauhan as a similar writer although I faintly remember hearing good reviews of Those Pricey Thakur Girls. Now I realise how wrong that was. I am glad I was introduced to this writer and I am happy after reading her book – The House that BJ Built. I am eating humble pie.
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The House that BJ built, and the protagonists
Those Pricey Thakur Girls are back – however, the main protagonist is not the Thakur women or BJ, their father. It is Bonu Singh this time. She is an orphan – BJ’s grand daughter and niece to the Thakur women. There is also Samar, step son of the eldest Thakur girl, Anjini and a love interest for Bonu. The Thakur women gather at their house on Hailey Road because BJ died and the house has to be sold. What follows is a funny Wodehousean mix of complications – Bonu’s reluctance to sell her share, tenants who just won’t go and Chachaji contesting BJ’s will, among other things.
Why the story retained my interest
Anuja Chauhan is witty and the characters are delightful. The book has all the essentials of a good romantic comedy. The Thakur aunts are awesome and I loved Chachiji! Her portrayal of the quintessential Chachiji is funny, also sensitive and so very Indian. The jokes are great, especially the banter between the hero Samar and his actor friend. The Hind-English is also carefully done so as not to be un-literary-ish. There is enough happening in the book to keep you engaged. In a non offensive and witty fashion, the author also tackles many issues that prevail in our society.
So yes, please go ahead and buy the book. It would be a welcome break from a boring routine, or any stress that inevitably comes with the googly that life throws at you, time to time.
Image Source: Vervemagazine.in
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