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Offering a book proposal.
[Text and pictures by Mayank Austen Soofi]
I'm determined to write the world's chocolatiest chick lit and determined to dedicate it to the chicks of Delhi. The book will not only be about Louis Vuitton-carrying, Jimmy Choo-wearing, BMW-driving, Khan Market-shopping girls of Golf Links, but also about the Janpath jhola-carrying, Osho-slipper wearing, auto-riding, Sarojini Nagar-shopping girls of the rest of the Delhi.
As I follow the eye candy, my only constant companion will be a much-thumbed copy of The Complete Novels of Jane Austen. I have reasons. The landscape that Austen wrote about in 18th century England finds its reflection in 21st century Delhi. The choices available to the girls of both – Devonshire, then, and Dilshad Garden, now – are remarkably similar.
For instance, a large income has always been considered the best recipe for happiness, whether its London or Delhi. Besides, it's an acknowledged truth in the entire NCR that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife. Alas, there have never been many men of large fortune, neither in Longbourn nor Lajpat Nagar, as there are pretty women to deserve them (inflation makes it only more difficult). And yet, there remains only one goal expected of most Delhi girls, employed or unemployed, MIG flat tenant or HIG flat owner: marriage.
However little known the feelings or views of the girls, this remains the truth fixed in the minds of their families from Gurgaon to Ghaziabad. It is supposed to be the only honourable provision for 'convented' young women of any fortune.
So, I will listen to everyday stories, the secret dreams and sinful fantasies of Lizzies and Emmas living in Janakpuri and Jahangirpuri, Gargi College and JMC, and mash them into a quickie pulp. I will attend the kitty parties of Karol Bagh, talk to aunties in Pitampura, look for their daughters in Buddha Garden, and search the Jane Austen in their private worlds.
My book will also poke the divide between south Delhi and the rest of the city. How different are the lives of young women in Saket and Seelampur? Does a bare-chested Johnny Depp adorn bedroom walls in both Vasant Vihar and Mayur Vihar? Is it Akshay Kumar in Shahdara?
Of course, the book will have lots and lots of Jane Austen: lots of badmash Lydias (who flirt with every guy in town), lots of wicked Wickhams (who think they are cunning but get trapped by such shrews). Jane will be proud. My promise.