How I Braved Anu Aunty is not exactly a work of fiction, nor a biographical piece, but somewhere in between. The book cover says ‘A true story‘ and the the disclaimer says ‘This is a work of fiction‘.
Perhaps, being a true entrepreneur, Varun was trying to break free from status-quo that a book needs to belong to a genre. Also, a great way to market your company. Genius, ya!
Varun, the author and the protagonist, has no job after graduating from an engineering college. So Anu Aunty along with his mother and her kitty party gang are hell-bent on getting his life on the track, a track which Anu Aunty deems fit. But Varun has different dreams. This is a story of making of a young entrepreneur. Fasten your seat-belts.
The story is original. And on top of it – it’s not a chick-lit or a crap-lit. It’s not even about college. That’s something rare for a young Indian writer.
Varun is a storyteller, and a good one, funny as well! At one point I was laughing like mad, sitting in my room reading the book. My friends wondered if they should call a psychiatrist.
His remarks and insights on – the aunty culture in India and almost everything that a young Indian goes through – are hilarious. A lot of ‘ya’, desi lingo, Bangalore lingo, iconic Indian things like maggi and some side track-startup gyaan – the book is already steaming.
And with that, both ladies started the ritualistic sobbing. .. It is the one stop solution for any occasion, good or bad.
There was trouble brewing and the aunties hated it when they were not in tune with the latest gossip.
The book starts with a piece called “Dude, This Guy Can’t Write for Shit” where Varun makes an excuse that he is not a writer (but a storyteller) so he shouldn’t be judged there.
Well dude, guess what makes a writer – a writer? Writing! And you just wrote & published freaking 200+ page book! So you are a goddammed writer. And I am judging you on it.
Some scenarios in the story are unnecessary crap. For instance, no one actually gives a speech when drunk (you need to build up to pull-off something like that). And towards the end he actually tried to pull a Chetan Bhagat in there. (Hint: Mr. Ram’s evaluation and Varun’s imaginary speech to him).
For the most parts – the gyaan (in sans serif typeface) was a very witty way of introducing alien concepts to people, or giving a piece of advice, or simply sharing a random thought. But at times the gyaan part was overdone. Chapters on Steve Jobs and Facebook marketing etc., were not exactly a part of the narrative and could’ve easily gone to the Post Script section of the book.
We had copyrighted the name though, so if any of you enthusiasts are trying to start your own company with name Backbenchers, watch out.
Now, you can’t copyright a name; trademark is a different thing. I can almost hear Any Aunty say, “Tsk. Tsk. What Varooon? Lying, ya?”
Some biases were stupid, if not offensive. Not funny.
At the end, my biggest fear did come true. The conclusion of the book was the biggest disappointment. KLPD. It just falls off from stairs and comes crashing down.
The characters were funny, human and mostly comically caricatures – which fits the tone of the story very well. They will remind you of someone from your own life.
Some little touches and bits are genius. The journey starts and ends at Noon Wine. And…
‘Two hundred rupees.’
That was genius.
Varun Agarwal is funny, witty, refreshing, original and captivating story teller. Would love to read more from him.
It was nice to see a fellow entrepreneur telling a story. There is much need for original storytelling and also startup-storytelling. I would actually want my friends to read this, maybe they will (finally) understand what I do and not call me a web designer.
It’s mother of all swears – Mother Swear.
There are two things you should never do – ask a girl her age and ask a guy to clean his room.
The peace of my house evaporated suddenly and the innocent walls were forced to hear the darkest secrets of every aunty.
They watch a lot of porn too.
‘Bhaiya, come. Mummy ji is crying.’
I was done.
‘Are you gay?’
Lightening. Thunder. Rain And old Hindi movie soundtrack.
PS: A very nice book cover by Jezreel Nathan. An apt over-crowed illustration for an overly long book title.