16 September, 2014

#BookReview :: Under Delhi by Sorabh Pant

With his hilarious flair and blatant voice, Sorabh Pant writes about a girl’s tribulations with the issues of sexual assault and rape in Delhi. As wise politicians and holymen will soon tell you, girls who are raped are merely “asking for it”. They wear skimpy clothes and eat fast food and chow mein, all of which add to their sexual vibes. Women need to take care of how they dress in public, and to do this they may need to ask a certain president’s son for fashion advice. After all, he is only too willing to offer it for free despite his busy schedule. And, of course, there is always the failsafe. Call your would-be rapist “bhaiya” and he will be filled with brotherly remorse, letting you go free. These are all that any woman in Delhi needs to do to avoid being raped. Or, they could just ignore the words of these wise men and kick men right in the family jewels. Angry with the issues of rape, Tanya Bisht decides to do just that, over and under Delhi. 

Welcome to Tanya Bisht’s world. Tanya Bisht is a girl from Delhi who works as a sales executive with a construction company. She may seem a regular girl with a regular job at first glance, but there is more to her than that. She breaks all the stereotypes that the society loves to tag girls and more particularly, Delhi girls with. But the most interesting part of her life is the night life when she scourges around Delhi streets to serve justice to the women who have been wronged by men. Instead of sitting at home and raving about rapists and molesters, Tanya has decided to actually ‘do’ something about it…

Tanya Bisht seems like a superhero right out of the pages of Marvel comics. She may not have superhuman powers, but she takes the fight to the streets and ridding the city of certain vermin. She has her job with a crappy boss at office, a family where not all is not well, and yet she manages time for her extracurricular activities.  While she has some help from time to time, she mostly operates alone and her commitment to it is admirable. She curves out her own path and life on her own terms and admired her for doing what she felt needed to be done and speaking her mind. I loved the author’s narration style. He has handled serious situations with a pinch of salt. His amazing sense of humour and wit is evident throughout the book and thus helps the plot by not letting it get too heavy at any point.  I also loved the way he has incorporated the comments and statements made by certain personalities in the book.

However I had certain expectations from the book after reading its blurb. While the book failed to deliver at an emotional level – that comes with discussing present day situations with safety of women, the book delivered in quality language, characterization, plot and humour.

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