Friday, December 3, 2010

Why I Write

Ever saw a movie and wished you were the lead character, swooping in and saving the day? The superhero that silently and broodingly saved all of Gotham city? Have you ever wished that the show you’re watching was your life? Ever read the newspaper and wished that that person was you? Ever wanted someone’s story to be yours?

Have you ever read a book and wished you were that girl- the one who said all the right things. Ever read a recipe and wished you were the cook? (Saw a tv show and wanted donuts- yes,yes, yes)

We all wanna be someone else. Do the things they’ve done, live their lives, have their stories to tell, and be applauded for that. We’ve all at some point wanted to step into other peoples shoes- irrespective of how uncomfortable or how hot those shoes are. Be it something small and simple like- saying the right thing to someone or bringing a smile to a person’s face or even scoring a goal.

We’ve all wanted to be someone else, at some point of time.

And me, I’d like to be Anuja Chauhan.

She made the lives of a zillion girls a zillion times better by writing the wickedly funny and hugely romantic “The Zoya Factor” – All’s fair in love – and cricket! (Now being made into a movie by SRK, who is a character in TZF! Sigh!) She gave us Zoya- chubby, with short hair and lots of spunk; the girl with an attitude, who waged a war with the Indian Cricket Captain- Nikhil Khoda- over a belief in luck, which was so much entertainment. When I read that book, I thought she could never top that, it was the best thing anyone had ever written in a very long time and yet I waited patiently and prayed and hoped that her next release would hit stores in the same year.

I was wrong on both counts-

It took her 3 years to write and publish her second book, and when I saw it, as a review in the Wow Magazine, I was disappointed. I swore I wasn’t going to buy it, because it was such a waste. Fifteen minutes later I went to Landmark, quite by chance actually, and coincidentally the first book I saw happened to be on the ‘New Releases’ shelf- ‘Battle For Bittora’ I picked it up, against my will, and looked at the cover (magazines don’t do it justice) and then I knew instantaneously that I was going to buy it and I was going to treasure it. Talk about serendipity.

A day later- here I am- gushing about it. And, thanking her, on behalf of all of womankind, for giving us the incredibly sexy and sinful Zain Altaf Khan. (Hereafter referred to as ZAK) ‘Battle for Bittora’ is unputdownable, not just because the aforementioned ZAK is wickedly sexy, and her words make him come alive right before your eyes, or because she uses her words so well that ZAK turns out to be this sinful, absolutely witty and a delightfully charming man but also because the war between him and Sarojini Devi Pande, (hereafter referred to as Jinni) is so charged, so crackling with chemistry and so passionate- you can feel the electric currents between them- in their love and their hate- and all their making out sessions in between a Lok Sabha election campaign, in which they’re both standing, for an MP seat, from Bittora, against each other obviously. Hence the name ‘Battle for Bittora’.

Its’ so beautifully penned, that you can’t let go of it. Both the dialogues and the emotions aid the storyline, or the plaaan, and make this book a riveting read. Both protagonists are witty, stubborn and passionate. Jinny, is the typical girl, confused and obstinate, and in love with her childhood friend- the boy she shared her first kiss with- ZAK- who disappeared from her life, only to return 9 years later to contest an election against her.

Apart from the necessary ingredients of a regular rom-com such as a boy and a girl who are madly in love and hate each other, disapproving grandmothers, annoying friends, potential boyfriend, and a flashback to a childhood romance, BFB also has an Indian election campaign- which gives it so much more masala. Caricatures of the sleazy politician, the greedy politician, the opportunist, the loyalist, the cunning opponents, the crazy grandmother and her excellent Hinglish add so much to this book, making it engaging and sharp.

BFB- you enriched my life, truly. You made me grin, wipe a few tears away, clutch my heart and take lots of deep breaths; you made me sigh, you made me laugh like I haven’t in a long time and more than anything else, you left me with a smile, once I had turned the last page over.

Yes, it’s no ‘Gone with the Wind’, or ‘The Godfather’, or ‘Catch-22’, but ‘Battle For Bittora’ is a compelling read, a book that won’t be forgotten anytime soon. And in today’s evolving, fast paced times, it’s the kind of book that truly represents us, and our generation, and our minds.
It was the first book that I didn’t want to ever finish- simply because finishing it meant ‘the end’ of a beautiful thing, and the end of not-knowing what was yet to come in this unpredictable tale of two lovers, and a long wait of another 3 years to get a glimpse of her next offering.

And if you thought that was just it, all she’s famous for are these two novels, she is also the wit behind various ad campaigns over fourteen years, coming up with tag lines like- Yeh Dil Maange More, Oye Bubbly, Mera Number Kab Aayega, Nothing Official About It. Yeh Dil Maange More, is probably one of the earliest memories I have of taglines and my fascination with them, and also one of my most favourite ones, one that’s stuck with me over the years.

Yeah. That’s why I wish I was her.

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