May 27, 2015

Book Review: The House that BJ Built by Anuja Chauhan

Anuja Chauhan's new book, The House that BJ Built, was sure to be on my to- read list after Those Pricey Thakur Girls, which I thoroughly enjoyed. She has a way of bringing in situational humor to play and setting a beautiful scene in your head through detailed descriptions.

The House that BJ Built, is a sequel, set almost 20 years after D gets married and the next generation is grown up and working their magic in the world. Their ancestral home being the crux of the story, as the title suggests, and how this home brings the once separated sisters (and their kids) from across various states and countries. B's daughter stays at the property with BJ and runs a tailoring unit catering to designer whims and fancies of customers abroad. A's son, Samar, is a new and upcoming Bollywood director, who falls into a row with the film fraternity and runs off to his step - grandfather's abode at 16, Hailey Road to sulk, lie low and spend some time with him after a long 3 year hiatus. BJ foresees how there might be property related disputes, and tries to dispose off the ancestral home and hand over the inheritance to the heirs , but that was not to be so, and we have his sudden death and Pandora's box being opened up with a rolling list of impediments in the face of the sale of 16, Hailey Road. And to top it, we have Samar, left with the responsibility of seeing to the correct disposal and disbursal.

As the story proceeds, one does get a whiff of Bollywood, not talking about Samar, but the plot and the twists and turns which roll out with it. Having said that, the writing and the flow is beautiful, which does make it a very gripping work. The eventual ending is predictable from way before the ending, but the turn of events which lead to the ending kept me at it.

The writing style and the author's capacity to incorporate humour is the same and to the same effect as with Those Pricey Thakur Girls. So if you enjoyed the previous work, this is a surely one you would not regret picking up.

Rating: 4/5

May 4, 2015

Week 3

By the point I was to leave for Trivandrum, I think I was more excited than what T was.

If you had asked me till a week before, maybe I was talking about the adjustment, killing the boredom, planning on activities for her and all. But, right then, all I was thinking was what all do I take for her from here :) And she has been away just a month.I had gone to the point to see what are the things she would have missed, things like her favourite triangle cheese, marshmallows, bangles and some new books. That was pretty much what I knew she would like the most.

When I went to pick her from her summer camp after getting home from the airport, I had a girl, running to me, forgetting that her ammumma was there right beside me. She sat glued to me in the car, and lunch had to be fed by me, and she wanted to colour with me and all. And this ran well into the next day too! But, yes I think after a month, I was enjoying the time we were spending together and she was thrilled to show me around my own parents place!

 But all in all, I know for sure that she was spoiled rotten with all the attention and everything practically left to her wishes, unless it is grossly wrong to be allowed. And obviously, like I always believed, Ruby was a real puller for her. She was so occupied with her that she really did need little else to be entertained.

Now for the re-settling into the routine life in Bangalore. But, for the girl she is, she is off to summer camp here after just coming into Bangalore the same day and happy at it too!

April 17, 2015

Week 2

As three weeks pass, now my parents seem to know the energy and activities which are required by T to keep her occupied through the day. Being Kerala, there was a state wide bandh ( strike) one of the days last week, which meant that her summer camp would be off for the day. Amma was truly worried as to what would the activities she would engage her in, and how she will be occupied sitting indoors. It is really hot and humid during the summer months, so moving outside during the day, was quite impossible. 

I was surprised with the solution Amma came up with!


She decided she is going to stitch a dress for her, using the time she had with her at home, and it being an activity which T has never been involved in, it was a completely new experience for her. Being measured, and then watching the fabric being cut, and sewn into the dress. She was thoroughly thrilled with her new dress and she even got to affix a stick on flower at the end all by herself! Anyhow, that was a day well spent by both of them, though Amma did say that she is certainly a handful and also, she did agree that if it was not for the summer camp, T might just have been bored and would have wanted to come back much earlier.

But after these 2 weeks, I see that her frequency of wanting to talk to B and me has certainly increased! Does that show boredom or missing? I am not really sure.
But she has asked me way more times as to when I am coming to pick her up and when my office has holidays. Now that I am just a week away from going to Trivandrum, so I guess now she has a date to look forward to and that should let the last week pass uneventfully.

And at our end... I think I am thinking last weekend around the corner when it will be just B and me at home... Its gonna be back to running and shouting and planning weekends. Must get to some awesome weekend brunches to celebrate this successful attempt for both of us!

April 7, 2015

Week 1

After the whole new experience effect, now seems like she is settling in and is happy to be walking about exploring and checking out new things. Having Ruby, my parent's pet Beagle seems to be the most important and exciting feature of the summer vacations.

Knowing how T is and how she needs some kind of play area and craft activities to keep her occupied, I had ensured that there would be a suitable summer camp which she would be able to go to for a few hours each day. And once the camp started, she has been busy with Easter egg painting, making jelly, pot painting and all such activities. She does reguarly speak to both B and me, and give a complete update on what all she has been up to and how Ruby is her best friend.

And on our end, it had been a weird start to an empty house. That first weekend was killing, we scrubbed the whole house down, moved furniture into T's and room, and setting up her bed for when she is back. ( I plan on transitioning her to her very own room, this summer, and have her ready by the time school reopens.) Anyhow, we were like lost in the house, with no agenda and most importantly, no sound. I decided I needed music, and B started watching his TED talks, all in the pretext of distracting ourselves. But, now, we have got used to the change, and to the time we have to ourselves, after 4 years of fighting and gritting our teeth at each other.

Initially the plan was to travel and do something different, which we would not be able to do with T around, but eventually we decided, why not go and do the many things which we want to do right here in Bangalore. So the last weekend, we went to a musical nite by Farah Siraj, which was I think the latest we both had been out of the house in the past 4 years. We got back by around 1 am and I think we were so thrilled to be able to do something as such. These were the small things which we missed, having no family or support around to even take a small break of a few hours. 

This break for us has been great, and knowing that she is happy and thrilled makes it all the more easy to enjoy ourselves!