Let me just say it as it is: Those Pricey Thakur Girls was such an enjoyable book, by the end of it I had to remind myself that Dylan Singh Shekhawat is a figment of Anuja Chauhan’s imagination. However, I’m pretty sure he is modeled along a real-life specimen, or is a mish-mash of some real delectable men out there. So it gives me hope that such a man exists out there in the real world. The next step is to track the author down on twitter and ask her for help to nab the man and make him mine.
Carefully etched to almost Darcy-like perfection, Dylan creeps under your skin in a way that most confident casanovas, who know they have every reason to flirt, tend to. It helps (or maybe it doesn’t – because it only really makes you want him more) that he sounds utterly delicious. Down to his muscular back, toffee brown bits, lean dimpled face and the oft-talked about butt.
Dylan Shekhawat enters with a kick and a bang and has you smitten from the word go. You’re wondering how everyone seems to like him so much, except Debjani, the most obvious yet not openly-so object of his affection. You wonder why she is being so pompous and playing hard to get, when it hits you. The bits and pieces from the Liz and Darcy plot lines fall into place, but oh so beautifully. With very deliberately picked details that construct the charm of the 80s all over again, making you reminisce about a decade gone by. And references to Rasna, Halo shampoo, getting Levi’s jeans copied and watching DD news with its painfully depressing title track every evening, that make you smile like a dinosaur from an era gone by.
What had me rapt completely was the sheer action that is packed into the story. The subtle (but equally entertaining) sub-plots, family-feuds, the unforgettable hallmarks of the 80s: liberalization, Anti-Defamation Bill, the ’84 riot and the state of the press and media. The up and down string of events is peppered with so many eccentric characters, each unique and memorable, never making you feel like any of them are unnecessary or playing no part in the larger scheme of things. It is like Pride and Prejudice meets Little Women meets Delhi in the 80s.
Those Pricey Thakur Girls (TPTG) was in fact so good that every semi-hot scene with Dylan and protagonist Debjani had me wishing I was back in the 80s, Dylan was someone I knew, and that Debjani was in fact me. Sexy in a way that leaves you feeling like butterflies are swimming around in the void of your stomach. You cannot miss the obvious Elizabeth-Darcy love, but Anuja Chauhan has done more than be inspired by the the oldest story in the book, a love story where both characters play hard to get. She’s grabbed this straight forward plot, turned it on its head and produced an absolute cracker of a story from it.
It is sassy, told with outstanding humour and that’s what made this book seriously addictive. But more than that it was the most perfect rendition of a male protagonist. So perfect that she had me swooning. And that hasn’t happened since Mr. Darcy. I was utterly and hopelessly smitten by Dylan Shekhawat, with his dashing looks, brutal honesty and hard-to-get-sexiness. Notice how I keep talking about him like he is a real person?
The romance was sky-high, and had me grinning widely to myself at times. The stolen kisses are innocent, the flirty moments are sweet, the sexual excitement was refreshing rather than staid and just titillating — which seems to be the route most chiclit seems to take these days. Without a single overtly sexual scene, Anuja Chauhan conveys so much and leaves you close to breathing heavy and feeling the wind sucked out of your stomach, like you’d probably feel when you’re in a sexy spot yourself.
The thrill of the chase is a done to death theme, and even as I read this, knowing fully well how it would end, I wanted more. I didn’t want it to end. Especially the bit where the families meet over a possible rishta between the two; anxiety, the trepidation, the family tension, the nervousness took me right back to when VC and I decided to bite the bullet and tell our parents we wanted to get married. We weren’t sure how things would pan out, and we proceeded anyway. Walking around with that vacuum in the pit of our stomachs, wondering which way things would go. That same feeling of your stomach doing a somersault that Dylan keeps talking about came rushing right back.
There are books that bring back old feelings and fond memories. And there are books that make you sit up and notice, books that you are happy to chance upon and read. There are books that shock and awe and make you want to find out what happens next. Then there are some books that leave you wondering why you bothered picking them up at all.
And then there are books that you wish would never end. TPTG is definitely one of them. Because by the end I was close to depressed that it was over. TPTG is like chicklit, but on steroids. Like rom-com, but with attitude. Like a good old, love story, but quite like no other I have read in recent time.