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When you need a fiction for your summer evenings with Merlot, you pick up Maharaja in Denims by Khushwant Singh.

So once again I went the Flipkart way and ordered Maharaja in Denims by Khushwant Singh.
It took me 3 days and few glasses of wine to read the book. Maharaja in Denims is fiction written keeping in my mind the fancy-schmancy ‘Chandigarh life’, which is unique and you cannot compare it to any other city in India.In the background, there is a story about Maharaja Ranjit Singh as well.
When I was doing my graduation in Melbourne, I was often asked a few question about Punjab from fellow Gujarati and Maharashtrian friends.
“Is Makki ki roti your staple diet? Do you all know bhangra?If you are Punjabi, why aren’t you Sardar?Do you do farming back there?
My answer would be, Hell No!
It’s amazing how people associate Punjab only with Yash Chopra movies. While in this book Singh has given a very modern and realistic image of life in Chandigarh. The “King size life”
It felt like reading Mills and Boon with Punjabi backdrop. The author isn’t shy to write about the lustful college life where unlike Yash Chopra movies it’s only the hormones talking and no love.
Reading the book all the “Punjabiness” was flowing in my blood. Maybe it is in our blood to be Loud and proud.
A few instances from the book seemed very well captured from the real life like the book reads- “if you have a Punjabi boyfriend in any part of the world, he would not let you pay the bill”. There is a good attention to detail about very little things like how someone of my father’s age would always pronounce “V” as “B” and “Z” as “J”
It would always “berry good” and “joom camera ” and after much effort “Yoom camera”
Or how there’s always a Billi aunty who would have been compared to Neetu Singh for her flamboyant personality in her university days but she would not miss a chance to gossip about “Jaspreet da Kaka” in her middle age.
And why is it that when you wish Namaste to the most graceful Sardarni Aunty she would reply with “Sat Sri Akal” ?? Though there is no right or wrong about it.
I liked author’s sensitivity to these very minor things
Sikh Religious stories are not about boons and curses like Hindu Mythology. They are about battles and sacrifices and the book unfolds part of Sikh history that talks about Ranjit Singh… Good leaders have always been secular and I was impressed to know the same for Maharaja Ranjit Singh. I was also impressed with how Maharaja was so ahead of his time. He considered his affinity towards woman as something very natural and yet he never let the women influence him with his political decisions.
The Punjabis living overseas have been portrayed in a very aptly though covering only a few pages in the book, Living their ‘English dream’ and cursing the situation in India and still wanting to be attached to their roots is very well written by Singh.
Though the book offers something for every reader but I wish I could skip a few pages as I am not a big fan of war stories therefore when The Maharaja leaves his court and harem in the book, I lose interest in him!
The India-Pakistan division episode is a very predictable tale of sorrow. The Delhi Massacre is something relatively more touching.
The past life regression sessions reminded me of Dr. Brian Weiss’ Many lives Many Masters.
The best thing about the book, It talks about urban, suave life of Chandigarh… That is as original as the Levis denim. The rich kids their expensive SUV’s, their hot girlfriends who would go decked up even to Mcdonalds. Girls who can out drink their male friends and boys who would be impressed by the bold but not brazen attitude and let me refrain myself from being a feminist here.
Shamsher Singh was one character that I thought was very well defined and readers can relate at least one of their uncles to him. Drives BMW, goes to Gurudwara, reads Osho version of Japji sahib and doesn’t feel shy to read from sex to superconsciousness either. I wish Shamsher Singh existed in real life too.
To Sum it up- It’s a  well made Punjabi cocktail of Sikhism and Sex. You must have a sip of it this summer.