Priya In Incredible Indyaa is a book I had read sometime back and absolutely loved. In this book author Namita Gokhale brings back some unforgettable characters from her 1984 cult bestseller Paro. So here’s a brief background of her book Paro - The book is in Priya’s voice, her narrative. Priya starts with an adolescent crush for her boss, the great B.R. He is also attracted to her leading to a brief fling, but within a month, B.R. marries Paro who is a from Delhi and for Priya someone who is larger than life. Priya herself gets married to a small time lawyer from Delhi, Suresh.The two of them try to network with ‘important’ people and make themselves known in ‘VIP circles’ for that Suresh is willing to bend himself backwards for any VIP. Soon enough Paro hits Delhi and Suresh get close since one of his friend Avinendra, or Lenin as he is known to friends, is besotted by her. At the same time Priya on a holiday to Bombay ends up having a fling with BR again leading to lots of fights between the couples. This must have been an explosive book in the 80s for sure!
So Priya returns in the second book, 25 years hence Paro is dead and Priya has grown into a middle-aged woman, her husband, Suresh, has bagged a minister of state portfolio. We see Priya struggling with Delhi's high society, her approaching menopause and finding a suitable wife each for her twins. She is still very much in touch with BR and whenever she is in Bombay makes it a point to meet him for a rendezvous. At the same time she is also struggling with all the pretenses that come along with being a wife of a public figure. She keeps remembering her humble beginnings in Bombay in a 1BHK and where she is now. At times she finds herself an outsider trying to fit in to the chic social set. Out of all the roles she plays she is the happiest being a mother to her two sons Luv and Kush.
Suresh’s friend, Lenin is around and still a Marxist while his wife Geeta is also a powerhouse in the Indian government. They have a daughter Paromita who falls in love with Priya’s son Luv. Also in the picture is the extremely loud spoken, ambitious, pushy Poonam who absolutely has no compunctions in hooking up with anyone in power to climb up the social ladder.
All in all gives the reader a glimpse into the high society life in Delhi-the hypocrisy of it all, the fake laughter, the shallow friendships, selfish alliances, double speak. The book is extremely well paced, funny, sarcastic, and witty at the same time. A satirical look at how the country has progressed not just economically but socially too.
A must read book.