Not another ABCD novel, I sighed as I opened American desi writer-filmmaker-musician Tanuja Desai Hidier's first novel, Born Confused.
Reading BC is like watching an ABCD movie (pleasant but predictable saga of cultural conflict)—the author is currently writing the screenplay. But this coming-of-age tale's warmth, clarity and humour more than compensate for the very overdone theme.
Dimple Lala, 17, is insecure, intelligent and initially unimpressed with the suitable boy her parents invite home. Later she finds out that he's a celebrated DJ and thinks she's 'self-actualised', which makes her want to sing 'Itchy-itchy Ho!' But there's a beautiful blonde fly in the ointment—her friend Gwyn, whose amorous intent towards Mr Actually Suitable she has to subtly foil. In the process she discovers herself, her community and that It's All About Loving Your Parents.
Hidier writes with colour, wit and genuine passion for photography and music, which make BC entertaining fare for a lazy afternoon. A word of warning, though—it's unabashed...