After The Zoya Factor, Anuja Chauhan has recently come up with another book, Battle for Bittora. The book is about 25-year old Jinni living in Mumbai and working for an animation studio and what happens when she comes back to her hometown, Bittora, at the call of her grandmother. Anuja talks to Mint about her new book, Battle for Bittora and her old passion, advertising.
How did the book come up? What is its backdrop?
I like writing love stories, which I am clear about. The thing is how to make them interesting and fun and naïve, its okay to be idealistic, and its okay to love your country and to want to do something for it while you are in politics. So, that’s really the point the book is making. Of course, it’s making it in a very light-hearted, fun, sensual kind of way rather than doing it all preachy and moralistic.
What is the plot of the book like?
The book really traces the entire course of a Lok Sabha election. The time graph pretty much starts from the whole tension about the nomination of the ticket, who is going to get the ticket, when you get the ticket, you file the nomination, tension before the withdrawal date, then you have the actual campaigning, door-to-door campaigning, big rallies, the period where you can’t campaign, the voting, the polling, then the waiting, the counting and then the final swearing in. So, it really follows that graph.
And, in between all this is a love story?
The book is in the political backdrop and being married into a family, which has such a veteran politician, how does it help in writing?
Well, you do get an insider’s perspective. That really helps because you are privy to stuff that people don’t see from the outside. And, I think that actually gives you a lot of scope for the humour for the introspection that you don’t really get from outside.
You have been part of advertisements like Oye bubbly, Yeh dil maange more etc. How similar or how different is advertising to writing books?
Advertising teaches you discipline. It teaches you to be very spare with your words. It teaches you to not to bore people.
How is the experience of Battle of Bittora similar and different from your first book, The Zoya Factor?
With Zoya, I had nothing to loose. There the big triumph was getting the book published…This time it is more about not disappointing people and doing better. So, I am a little more stressed than I was with Zoya.
After Diwali I will start writing a new book.
And, what will that be about?
I can’t tell you!