Remember the days when we used to be kids? The puberty had not hit us hard and we were living the times of our lives. Or were we? Those were times of being dependent on parents, searching for an identity, proving ourselves in school while battling with our siblings for an extra spoon of ice cream. Oh! Those days. While our youth are paid more attention by authors and often find mention in form of love stories or some familiar or unfamiliar tale. But this book, titled “Those days in Delhi” by Yashodhara Lal was an altogether new experience. There could not have been a better day to post than Children’s day.
About the author
Yashodhara Lal is an Indian author best known for her book How I Became A Farmer’s Wife published in 2018 by HarperCollins. Her book When Love Finds You was published 2016 by Harlequin India.
Lal’s other books include There’s Something About You (2015), Sorting Out Sid (2014), and Just Married, Please Excuse (2012). Yashodhara has also authored one children’s book, entitled Peanut has a Plan (2016).
Premise of the book
There was no hero, no villain, just 12 year old Yashodhara with her nonchalant, adorable attitude who does mistakes but only gets better after her every mistake. The book opens with a dialogue between Gudiya (Yashodhara) and her mind as she pays a hasty visit to Khan market to do something secretive- to buy cold wax for her as she does not seem to get along with new hair on her legs.
“I licked my lips and cleared my throat but my voice still came out in a squeak, “Uncle I need some…..” After a moment, I finished in a whisper, “wax”.
Suddenly, the flies in the shop stopped their buzzing, the shop boys looked at each other and then me in horror and Saluja Uncle’s grey eyebrows went up into his head”
She is a 12 year old living in Delhi, careless child who just spends her days in either playing or daydreaming. Her life isn’t full of many surprises but it is not so boring after all. She has only one close friend in class, Ankit and they both share a passion for hot wheels cars and courtesy Ankit, she is able to live some happening moments in class, not until she finds Rupali. They both hang out together and become the “inseparable cool besties” in class 7F. They are all bossy and command high authority over rest of the students. Yashodhara does not like to study and her parents are not very pessimistic about it and her dad believes that she will be able to be a great lady someday and become a doctor like him.
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There is one more exciting thing in her life; basketball which keeps her hooked and finally makes her disciplined. Ankit starts drooling over her and writes her poems full of affection and love. A new America return guy named Vicky is there in her class who is well paced in basketball and makes good moves with the opponents. Yashodhara seems to be having a crush on him. She practices her best and makes a place for her in the school basketball team where she meets Pratibha who barely speaks. Life is going perfect for her.
Not until she finds out that she has scored just 62% in her exams and failed in Hindi. She is ashamed of showing the report card to her parents so she tempers the result sheet, changes her marks. Meanwhile, her best friend Rupali is angry with her for not showing her the report card and eventually breaks the sacred vow of “best friendship”. Somehow she goes back to school only to find betrayal of Rupali when she discloses Yashodhara’s mean poems for her classmates. Everybody turns her back against her except Pratibha, the least expected person.
I had asked Pratibha tentatively if she knew what I had written in the diary about her, but she shrugged, “I didn’t listen – I walked out even before they got my name. It was like eavesdropping and my mom says that people who eavesdrop never hear anything good about themselves.”
She learns big lessons throughout this journey. She learns that the more you try, the more things mess up and the key is just to let go and be your natural self. She realizes that she cannot make everyone love her and eventually she needs to have people in her life to trust her for who she is. This book was a light-heart read that made me miss my childhood and some nuisances that I used to do every time.