By Yashasvini Rathore
Edited by Divyajyot Joshi
Let me begin this article by saying that this is probably the first time I’ve ever been so conscious of putting my thoughts and feelings out in the world for people to read. The reason being, it is for Jaipur Book Lovers club. Don’t get me wrong, the atmosphere at every meeting is very welcoming and everybody is interested in what you’ve got to say (even if they might not agree with you). But I’m like Harry who has unexpectedly been told he is a wizard and the poor little boy is worried whether he would ever be able to live up to the responsibility.
Unfortunately, my journey with new wave Indian authors began with the books of Chetan Bhagat. I was in class 10th and I couldn’t handle the peer pressure. Well that man owes me 3 years of my life where I simply refused to read anything written by Indian authors because I thought they all were fooling their audiences. I cringed when someone said their favourite author was Chetan Bhagat or Durjoy Dutta or Ravinder Singh. To put it simply, I think they take their audience for granted by deliberately making the plot so predictable, the language way too easy and just adding a bit of erotica (just for the sake of it) so as to ensure they reach the bestsellers list.
But now I’m no longer an immature teenager, I understand that it isn’t fair to generalize and moreover to each his own. So now the cynicism has faded and I’m open to new age Indian authors as long as they don’t offer me the age old tale of a boy meets a girl.
I discovered Amish Tripathi some three years back and my faith in the fact that there are some really talented new age Indian authors was found. This man has redefined mythology. Moreover I just can’t seem to get over the way he has imagined Sati, Kali and Sita in his books. After Amish, I would really recommend Mrs. Funnybones by Twinkle Khanna, she is eloquent, witty and isn’t afraid to say what she believes in.
I talked about Anuja Chauhan’s books in this meet up. Yes, I agree she writes chick lits and the language isn’t that challenging. But I loved the strong female protagonists she has created in each of her books and the fact that the supporting characters are quirky and relatable. In each of her books one feels she has done justice to the backdrop. So if you are reading The Zoya factor, she transports you to the world of cricket. The flavour of the late 80’s and journalism in ‘Those Pricey Thakur Girls’, the feel and antics of an election in ‘The Battle for Bittora’ and the world of cinema and affordable fashion in ‘The House that BJ Built’.
This meet up allowed me to discover more new age Indian authors and add more books to my reading list, like :-
Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni’s – Sister of my Heart and The Mistress of Spices
Kota Neelima’s – Shoes of the Dead
Devdutt Pattnaik’s – Devlok and Shikhandi
Rashmi Bansal’s – Connect the Dots and Stays Hungry Stay Foolish
Ruzbeh N. Bharucha’s – The Fakir
Jagat S. Mehta’s – March of Folly
Jhumpa Lahiri’s – The Namesake
Kavita Kane’s – Sita’s Sister
Srijan Pal Singh and A.P.J. Abdul Kalam’s – Reignited
Gurcharan Das’ – The difficulty of being good
Anand Neelakantan’s – Asura
To those who haven’t attended any of the meetings of JBL, I would like to inform that every meet up is divided into two parts. The first one is where we have to give a brief introduction of ourselves and then talk about the book or books we have read for that meet up. The second round involves a more thorough discussion on the topic.
For this meet up the discussion was very thought provoking. The group was clearly divided into two parts. One believed that the likes of Chetan Bhagat are promoting reading culture in India and the second believed that such reading culture then never develops beyond this basic literature. I’ll leave it for Anima to write about the points put forward with the group that felt the former. And take up the rather easier task of listing down the objections to the development of such reading culture.
• The language used by such writers is too basic and crass
• the plotline predictable
• these books resemble more like a bollywood script rather than a novel
• This kind of writing isn’t suitable for the teenagers (who form the major reader base for this commercial genre of New wave Indian authors)
• the readers get stuck to this easy and commercial genre.
To put it simply the conclusion can be just sticking to this easy literature when there are others who’ll contribute more to your overall experience of reading is like saying “ I love ice-cream” , but never eating anything other than that same vanilla flavour.
P.S. – I tried to restrain my harshness with words but that wounded teenager still found a way to express her hurt.