I was pretty excited to read about a story based on Indian Air Force. Having read quiet a bit about the American Marines, the Mi6 secret agents I was curious and excited to read about some desi faujis I.e. Indian Soldiers. I was happy with the story, it’s characters and fell in love with the lead character Baaz. Read on to find how that happened.
Author: Anuja Chauhan
Published: May 2017
Publisher: Harper Collins India
Location based in: India
Profession of main characters: Indian Air Force Fighter Pilot and Photographer/ Social worker.
Baaz is set in the 60s of India leading up to the war for the liberation of East Pakistan. The main character is Baaz whose given name is Ishaan Faujdaar.
Meet the young, dashing, daredevil country boy from a small village in the newly formed Haryana. Ishaan is an adrenaline junkie from a very young age, performing stunts that give him a high, a rush which makes his heart beat faster. For his naughtiness, before Shaanu, as his family calls him lovingly, even turns 10 his grandfather reprimands and jokingly plants a seed of flying air planes in his young heart. Pretty soon our gaon ka gora jat (country boy) is enrolled in Air Force college and on his way to become a pilot which he finds provides a rush as sweet as he expected.
Next a neat, warm group of people enter his life courtesy the air force like his best friend’s Raka, Maddy and the lovely Tinka. Baaz’s love and professional life reach new heights as India is engaged in a war leading to the heart breaking end of the story.
Now, here’s what I thought about our Baaz, he’s known as Baaz to the IAF courtesy his skills in air. The author says this story is her first attempt to write about the Indian men in uniform, it is her tribute to the defenders of India’s borders. Keeping that in mind I expected patriotism, the trademark camaraderie of the forces and plenty of glamour.
I got all of that but I didn’t expect to fall head over heels for the lead character Ishaan ‘Baaz’ Faujdaar. I haven’t previously read about a fictional character whose in the Indian Military. I’ve read plenty about the American Marines and absolutely love them. But a Desi fauji, I had no clue of what to expect and I was pleasantly surprised and not a bit disappointed in him.
Our fighter pilot is not only a handsome devil but is sensitive, caring, a terrific sport and extremely lovable. He is hungry for action during war, he is a fantastic brother to his half siblings, a friend’s friend and romantically, well he is Dreamy and pretty modern for his time.
The story depicts the war pretty matter of fact and is more about the characters and how they handle their first action pretty fresh out of college. While the characters were going about their lives rescuing damsels in distress, planning elopements for friends and then gearing up for fighting it was hard not to loose yourself in their life.
The lead up to the climax was pretty nerve wrecked for me as I knew someone will be killed. Knowing that and finding who gets martryed was still pretty devastating. I absolutely hated the ending, it had me sobbing and wailing like a crazy person. Still it was an incredibly heroic way to loose your favorite character in the story and just for that I am a bit miffed with the author.
Baaz is an innocent, simple at heart besides being smart, handsome, hot, cocky and still the gaon ka gora chhora. It was easy to fall for him and as it happens when you fall for someone who excitedly walks towards death with a fucking smile on his face, you end up with you heart in a million pieces.
The friendships Shaanu, as he is lovingly known in the story, forms are terrific, his friends are loyal and dedicated to each other. His family is the sweetest even when his father is a right Grinch. And then there is Baaz’s love interest Tinka, as frustrating as she was as a character she was the right balance to our Baaz’s goodness.
I could probably write on and on about the things I love about Ishaan Faujdaar but to say it in short Baaz is a story about an Indian fighter pilot who is born to win the hearts of every person he meets. The story has plenty of adrenaline, courage and bravery that goes hand in hand with fighting a war, love in heaps, a friendship that puts today’s social media based relationships to shame.
The Pride that comes from fighting for your nation is unprecedented and every other logic fails in front of it. So even when we believe war is terrible reading the story is sure to bring out your patriotism and pride in your country.
So read this story to feel every damn emotion there is to feel, I sure did and found myself a favorite Indian character in Baaz. You will also love the characters just treat them as fictional ones and don’t go comparing them to the real life officers. Take pleasure in Fiction for a change cos there’s enough reality in non fiction books if you prefer that.
Author ~ Anuja Chauhan
Reviewed by Bharti