Chapatti or Chips?


You want to know how I ushered in the New Year? I read chick-lit. Lots of it. Hard core chick-lit that too.

The type where the book cover was always pink, with a Barbie look-alike gracing the cover and nail polish and stilettos dancing around her.

But my last chick-lit book was way too hard-core even for me. I am usually all for soppy dialogues and descriptions of people’s clothes and BFFs sharing ice cream and dissecting their breakups.

20140104-170916.jpgPhoto courtesy Amazon

I should have been warned. After all, the book’s name was ‘Chapatti or Chips?’. Yes I know, I asked for it didn’t I?

Here’s a brief synopsis of the book (spoilers ahead), before I give you some snippets of the charming prose in this book.

Story happens in the present time. Young Naina is a Punjabi girl brought up in Milton Keynes by a family who is eerily similar to Simran’s family in DDLJ. Imagine a dupatta clad Mom, a strict traditional Dad and a sympathetic younger sister. Naina is in love with Dave, a gora hunk who has slept with practically every woman he has met. Obviously he doesn’t know about her feelings and thinks they are just ‘fraands’ so he keeps doing his thang of getting every woman on the planet to remove her knickers for him.
Naina’s marriage is fixed with the eligible but boring Ashok. But after a couple of cuss words, misunderstandings, kisses and heavy petting, Dave finally understands Naina is his true love, and gallantly takes her away on her wedding day.

Cue, DDLJ song plays:

Le Jayenge Le Jayenge
Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge
Aji Rahey Jayenge Rahey Jayenge
Gharwaale Dektey Rahey Jayenge

Which is exactly what her Gharwaale do as the book ends.

The author has obviously worked hard to make a book go for 452 pages with so many costume changes for the heroine and so many love scenes for the hero and a plot in between. But it looks like she does like her thesaurus A LOT. Below are some snippets of the ‘colourful’ style of writing I came across in the book:

Fight scene:

“As though Froggy had been held back until now by steel ropes, they suddenly perforated , stretched, then snapped, as he threw himself over the table towards Dave.”

As visual as it maybe, because I practically heard the sound of those steel ropes in my head as I read, I just wish Froggy had thrown himself at Dave like normal people do.

Emotional scenes:

“The hairs on his neck twisted and contorted.”

Hairs on his neck rising, I can understand. But the twisting and contortionย of your neck hairs? That seems like a rather daring feat even for Rajnikanth’s neck hairs.

“The questions by Naina were coated in prickly rose thorns; her eyes swallowed Dave’s smug look and spat it out like hot acid.”

Questions coated in thorns and eyes spitting acid . My oh my! Naina, you better watch that temper girl.

“Naina’s throat was as dry as Tutankhamun’s bones.”

Ok, Miss.Author now step away from the Thesaurus slowly and nobody gets hurt. Slow and steady that’s it.

“That was it, Naina’s tear ducts exploded.”

Some one call 911. We have a case of ummm…ruptured tear ducts.

“As Dave spun round his chair, the centrifugal force pushed out a comment: ‘Anyway, if I were to have a child, it would be with you.’ And he carried spinning.”

Unless the damned swivel chair was haunted, I am certain no amount of centrifugal force can push out a comment and voice it through the person sitting on the chair :/

Sexual scenes :

“Now was the not the time to mention cybersex and how she and Dave sometimes spent a whole afternoon trying to fornicate with someone else’s soft-drive, turning it into a hard-drive.”

I am lost. Are we talking about pornography or the act itself, and what is a soft drive? Anyone?

“But somehow, she couldn’t find the willpower to push Dave away. She had never felt this way before. Burning feelings of pleasure hurled from spears of pure bliss stabbed through her nerves like a heavenly war. She felt like a virgin whore.”

There’s like an entire war going on inside this woman’s libido. And honestly we did not need that level of knowledge. And calling your heroine a ‘virgin whore’ ? Not such a good idea.

Misc literary genius moments from the book:

“Naina stood at the bedroom window. The night was as black as soldiers boots, as she peered upwards to the burning stars of Orion. Unmoving there, all confident with his shining sword. “

Naina could have just looked at the stars in the sky without giving us an astronomy class.

“Her days were numbered. Even this, sitting here with Dave in his flat would all be a dusty memory come wedding day. And by then she would be so Indian, even the dust mites would be wearing saris.”

Dust mites wearing saris, oh mere Naina, please let’s not drag the poor dust mites into this utter confusion of a novel. Let them be.

“For such a physical-looking man, Dave made getting out of bed look like a strangely strenuous exertion. “

I Googled for this term — physical-looking. Didn’t find such a thing.
Are the rest of the males, the un-Dave ones, merely chemical looking or biological looking? The horror really!

“Supper simmered as Alison boiled while Dave marinated in lipstick.”

I gave up about here. Alison boiled in anger. But Dave marinated in lipstick, like a piece of tandoori chicken. In no universe is such a sentence acceptable, not even in the universe where dust mites wear saris!

I did finish the book. The storyline is not so bad. Almost passable. But those sentences, shudder.

Though it did give me something to write about. I half wish I had Dave’s magic chair that would spurn out my blog post by the sheer power of its centrifugal force. Wouldn’t that be something?

Enjoy the rest of the weekend people!

For the review on the second book in this series, read here.ย 

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14 thoughts on “Chapatti or Chips?

  1. Woh! I am so impressed with the kind of fiction that comes out now and love how most of have “Bestseller” on its cover. And how exactly does one write a 400+ page book like that without a thesaurus? Naina is my heroine…go watch DDLJ with some porn thrown in won’t take more than a page? Tut tut Maria….you should be kinder.

    Loved your write up! I love chick litt too btw!

  2. MGF!! Now, THERE was a gem!! Whattay!!!
    First the “best seller” itself! What poetry oozing out of each line. Blessed be your new year. From here on it can only get better for you. The selection of gems were priceless. The boiling, marinating, physical looking, centrifugal force spewing, neck hair contorting Dave is stuff which mere mortals like me can only dream of emulating, in becoming the perfect man. I can imagine a long queue of virgin whores lining up by his apartment, sharpening their spears of pleasure with their sari clad dust mites for company. Watching Sachin Tendulkar’s career for two and a half decades had given me a comprehensive idea of all sorts of drives- cover,square,straight,on – or so i thought. Soft drive stumped me!

    To say that you have nailed this would be an understatement. The humor was spot on. The sarcasm even more so. But with such a gem to review, I guess it’d have taken some doing for you to have NOT pulled this one off so nonchalantly. Glad that you’ve again taken up writing. Keep at it!!

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