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Those Pricey Thakur Girls - Anuja Chauhan

I would normally be very suspicious of a book title that uses the adjective ‘pricey’ to describe the female gender but then my eyes were drawn towards the gaze of the feline on the cover and then to the colourful flip flops and finally to the shadows on the wall.  So in summary, I saw colour (game!), a cat (set!) and summer (match!). Did I just judge a book by its cover? Of course I did and I have no regrets!

Five sisters with their unique personalities, their quirky parents and a big mansion… does this ring a bell? And did I just hear you groan about it being a desi rip off on Jane Austen’s Pride & Prejudice?! I want to clear that misconception right at the start. Although it is tempting to fall prey to the beast that is cognitive misery by drawing parallels between both books, such a thought wouldn’t do justice to either.

Laxmi Narayan Thakur, a seasoned High Court Judge and his wife Mamta live in a sprawling mansion on New Delhi’s affluent Hailey Road. Their brood of 5 inimitable daughters are alphabetically named - is this a consequence of unabashed lack of imagination or some sort of compulsive disorder?

Anjini, the oldest, is carefree and very unlike what you would expect of a sibling leading a pack of 5! Binodini, is more worried about her children’s inheritance of the mansion than her own relationship with her sisters; Chandrakanta is a rebel as demonstrated by her elopement with a foreigner the night before her wedding; Debjani, is spunky and always fighting for the greater good and finally, Eshawari, is still in school and to say she is popular would be an understatement. 

You will also be entertained by Laxmi Thakur’s sister in law, her philandering husband, their not so smart son and a long standing family anecdote about the girls’ grandparents that takes on different versions based on who the narrator is! There are a few other characters that become known during the course of the story and to reveal them here would only spoil it for you!  Oh wait! Let me tell you about just one more character…Dylan Singh Shekhawat… he our romantic hero? Which of the five girls would you pair him with?

Although character development is effective, I would have liked to know more about Chandrakanta and Binodini as Chauhan tends to focus more on the oldest and younger two and this in a way reinforces for me the existence of the ‘middle child’ syndrome. That said, her characterisation of certain personalities is so rich that you distinctly like some, others you are irritated by and still others, simply amused by!

The language used in the book is full of humour and local Delhi slang and the ambience described through the course of the novel gives you a good feel for Delhi in the seventies. There are many LOL moments in the book and I would definitely recommend it as an entertaining travel companion.  I read this book on a flight to India and the fatigue of the long journey was made bearable by this delightful read. The book is definitely for you if you enjoy romantic comedies. So why not try this genre with some desi tadka?

'Those Pricey Thakur Girls' has a sequel - 'The House That BJ Built', which I will review soon so watch this space.


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