I’ve always enjoyed Anuja Chauhan’s exceptionally fluid style of writing. As you read you feel like a really close friend of yours is telling you a story.
Baaz ( meaning a falcon in Hindi ) is the story of a young boy: Ishaan Faujdaar from the hinterland of Haryana. Set against the 1971 war this book has nuggets of nostalgia for us 80’s kids. Her accounts of the war are all too real and recount takes from a pilot as well as civilians view.
One instance of nostalgia is when Anuja re creates the famous Liril soap advertisement in the form of Freesia (fictional) soap. Who can ever forget that iconic waterfall sequence?
Another fond reference is to Amar Chitra Katha comics. These Indianised mythological comic books were our daily diet during summer vacations. They gave visual appeal to tales our grandmothers wanted us to remember.
Anuja creates very well defined characters. Less than halfway into the book you are acquainted with them and actually end up thinking – wonder what happens to Ishaan ( Shaanu ) now? You are mentally casting the movie as you read. The characters are all too familiar.
Her language is liberally peppered with doses of Hinglish( a combination of Hindi and English ) …Which is almost how we all speak amongst pals. That increases the comfort level of the book.
One quality I contribute to this author is that she evokes feelings of love which we all felt in yesteryears. Trust me you’ll remember your crushes and all that heartbreak.
However Baaz has a lot of action: Airplane sequences, crashing helicopters, emergency landings .. all the thrills you would want from a war novel. This is a fresh departure from Anuja’s usual romantic books. But it developed extremely well with the theme.
Sadly in our country, the armed forces are not given the glorification they so deserve. Anuja Chauhan has tried to do just that..the bravado of the Air Force is the pivotal point in her book. Inspired by her cousins and Uncles Anuja has done immense research to bring that pure patriotic feeling and the flavor of the Fauji life into this book.
All in all, this was a smooth and breezy read. Well done again Anuja !!
Feature Image Credit : Priti Sagar from Peggy Clicks