Goodreads blurb: ‘If you’re being raped, call your perpetrator “bhaiya” and he will stop.’ – Asaram Bapu, ‘holyman’
‘Chowmein and fast food causes rapes.’ – Haryana Khap Panchayat
‘(Some) Women protesting rape are dented and painted.’ – Abhijit Mukherjee, the President’s son
Ladies: throw away your pepper sprays. You don’t need them as long as your lips are armed with the potent word, ‘bhaiya’.
Fire at will.
Don’t eat fast food. Eating needs you to use your mouth in front of men, which is just ‘asking for it’. Always agree to any man’s sexual proposition – just say, ‘Yes’, to everyone.
Most importantly, before making any wardrobe choices, do consult with the President’s son. He’s never too busy to help you out with his insightful fashion tips.
OR, ignore these wise words and go out and kick men like that in the grapes and fight back.
That’s what I do. This is that story.
The story of Tanya Bisht, over and under Delhi.
The author Sorabh Pant has made quite a name for himself in the stand-up comedy circuit in India and in fact is considered among the Top 10 Comedians of India today, and it therefore goes without saying that this book, Under Delhi is deliciously funny, albeit in a darkly morbid kind of way. Make no mistake about it, this book clearly falls under the genre of ‘black comedy’.
As the book blurb highlights, the author clearly is pissed off with how the nation and its leaders have reacted to the plight of women and the absolute lack of security they enjoy in Delhi. The (in)famous quotes from the so-called ‘leaders’ and ‘wise men’ of society that he has highlighted convey more about the misogynistic male chauvinistic attitudes that is so prevalent across almost all Indian men today. And this book is probably the author’s way of communicating his frustration at these happenings in India today.
His main protagonist Tanya Bisht is a female vigilante by night, dishing out her own unique brand of justice to avenge a wrong committed on her in the past. Abandoned by her parents at a very young age, Tanya is a self-made girl in every sense of the world, and despite her extraordinarily warped world view and weird sense of right and wrong, she strikes us as someone that we can easily relate to. Her everyday life during the daytime is something that most of us lead, a humdrum existence in a ‘go nowhere’ job with a builder, a competitive colleague who doesn’t hesitate to stab her in the back to get into the boss’ good books, a boyfriend who is more of a tool for physical gratification than anything else, and so on.
But it is in the nights that Tanya transforms into an avenging angel (or devil, based on which side of justice you are on). Her modus operandi is simple and her track record impeccable; at least she thinks so until her next target Ramesh Gill comes into focus. With his arrival, the narrative takes an interesting turn and readers get to know a whole lot more about Tanya, her past, her motivations and probably her future as well.
Does Tanya manage to repay Ramesh Gill for his past wrong-doings, or has she bitten off more than she can chew, forms the crux of the rest of the story. Suffice to say that the proceedings are anything but dull, and are truly representative of Delhi (and even the whole of India) and its attitude towards women in general.
What I really liked about the book is that although it deals with a fairly sensitive and important subject, not once does the author condescend to giving gyaan to readers. His sincere attempt has to been to use satire as a medium through which he conveys the all-important message that he does. And the black humor that he has injected in the book remains intact through all the action which ensures that readers are kept entertained throughout the narrative.
In conclusion, this book is a thoroughly enjoyable breezy read. Go ahead and purchase this book from Flipkart [Link] or Amazon [Link]. Yes, I will make a small commission when you do so, but your purchase price will not increase.
Disclaimer: A review copy of this book was offered to me by the publisher, but the review is completely unbiased and independent.
|Goodreads link||Goodreads Link|
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|Amazon link||Amazon Link|