Book Title: Gurgaon Diaries
Author: Debeshi Gooptu
Total Number of Pages: 240
Publisher: Rupa Publications
Publication Date: 20 Jan 2018
Modern-day Gurgaon was Guru Dronacharya’s village, a gift from the Pandavas and Kauravas for training them in military arts. While the legends of the mythical village are woven around the warrior mystic, the Millennium City, as it stands today, owes its rapid growth to globalization, outsourcing and the BPO boom.
From swanky malls and skyscrapers to pot-hole-ridden roads where gleaming Mercs vie for space with rickety rickshaws from voluptuous North Indian aunties and brawny local men to rotund Bengali mashimas from designer stores and Starbucks coffee to roadside vans peddling chole bhature. Drona’s village is riddled with contradictions, both hilarious and poignant, irreverent and bittersweet. Gurgaon Diaries is a humorous peek at the workings of this modern-day village and how the Millennium City is a paradox in itself.
REVIEWED BY SOHINEE DEY
When I received this book and I came to know that the author is of Bengali origin, I felt delighted. I don’t know, maybe this is a bong thing where a person gets excited when they come across another bong. She says that she left her birthplace Kolkata nineteen years ago and settled in Gurgaon. Gurgaon Diaries is a book where she compiles all of her experiences she had in Gurgaon and presents it in an hilarious, exaggerated and entertaining way.
Gooptu’s two decade long journey has been filled with some amusing incidences and some accidental encounters with local people which had left a sour taste and through this book, she doesn’t leave any stone unturned in ranting about those events. The millennium city which shows off its rapid globalization also manages to offer spaces for damaged roads, street food vendors and rickety rickshaws. Quite a contradictory situation. On one side, globalization has left it’s effects but on the other side, looks like globalization hasn’t been able to reach every dark corner. Gurgaon or Gurugram?
The book is divided into three major parts : Life, Work and Play. The narrative encompasses of almost all of Gurgaon through the insight it allows into the daily lives of local people, her personal experiences, what it’s like to be working as a professional there and of course not to forget recreational activities that people indulge themselves to when they are not working. It also talks about how people are unaware of personal space due to which, the author had been jabbed and poked by different instruments during her shopping endeavours; how food is being being related to religious beliefs, the not-so-transparent businesses, the bangaliana behaviours, pesky pigeons, the uninvited monkeys munching on snacks, preparation for earthquakes that would grace it’s presence with shakes anytime it deemed fit, different words carrying different meaning when pronounced incorrectly, how selfies can go wrong in streets, etc. She also compares Christmas in Gurgaon to that of Kolkata in the chapter ‘Santa Claus is Coming to Town’. There’s also a chapter titled ‘Turning Japanese’ where the author narrates how Japanese culture have affected lifestyles of the local people.
The book also caters to some serious topics as career, how people don’t consider freelancing as a job, how it is important for parents to have a strong bonding with their children. An immense number of topics have been covered in this book and talking about each and every one of them in this review is not really possible.
Humour, satire and exaggeration has been prominently used in the book. The comical presentation of the characters, the satirical narration and the author’s comedic writing style made the book a treat. The word flow is smooth and even though there’s no such sophisticated use of words, the language really felt nice while reading. It didn’t sound amateurish at all. The stories are short and it didn’t took me much time to complete the book.
MY FINAL VERDICT
I really enjoyed my time reading this book. If you are someone who likes to read books with a humorous touch and which can talk about social issues without sounding as complaining, you should definitely give this a read.
Book Cover: ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Book Title: ⭐⭐⭐.5
Writing Style : ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Grammar and Punctuation: ⭐⭐⭐⭐.5
Language and Vocabulary: ⭐⭐⭐.8
POESY IN CHRYSALIS RATING: ⭐⭐⭐⭐ / ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Debeshi Gooptu is a business journalist turned digital content strategist and entrepreneur. With more than twenty years of experience in print and television (Business Standard, Business Today, Plus Channel) and higher education (British Council, Canadian High Commission, Intel Asia Electronics), she runs an online research consultancy for overseas education organization and works as a digital content strategy head for Digiqom, a digital media agency. Debeshi is also the India editor for Innovation Enterprise, a Singapore-headquartered publication tracking trends in technology and innovation in Asia-Pacific. She frequently blogs for The Huffington Post and runs ‘The Gurgaon Diaries’, a successful blog.
She lives in Gurgaon, Haryana.
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