BENGALURU: Riding high on the success of movie, The Zoya Factor, an adaptation of her book with the same title, Anuja Chauhan has gone back with her “arms wide open” to writing her new book. With several popular jingles, including the oft-recalled ‘Yeh dil mange more,’ and five books to her credit, Chauhan is now working on her next book, which is expected to come out by mid-2020.
“I am quite excited about it,” she says, adding, “Also in the pipeline is a web series of my book, Those Pricey Thakur Girls. I am also scripting another web series.” With so much written word behind her, you would think Chauhan always had it planned this way. However, she studied economics in college – a decision that still surprises her – and she took up a career advertising on the advice of her then-boyfriend and now-husband, Niret Alva. “We met when I was a 19-year-old student of Miranda House. Niret was 24, and used to work with a Delhi-based theatre company. They were doing a play, My Fair Lady, and were looking for their lead. I went for the auditions, and got the part,” the 49-year-old author recalls. “That’s how we met, and the meetings never stopped,” says Chauhan, who has been married for 25 years now.
It was Niret who pointed out to Chauhan that she had a creative bent of mind. “He suggested advertising to me, as it involves a blend of creativity and numbers. During those days, getting a job in advertising was easy if you could write well. So I got one, and enjoyed it, and one led to another,” she says about the profession that she pursued for 13 years.
The family moved to Bengaluru five years ago. “My husband has been a diehard Bengaluru boy. So when we were looking for a place to settle down, he was quick enough to point everything towards Bengaluru. Now, I can’t think of leaving my home,” she says. When not writing, Chauhan, who is also a dance and fitness freak, loves working in her garden. “My gardener is my best friend these days,” she smiles. She still has a sweet spot for Delhi though, a city she spent a substantial amount of time growing up. “I miss shopping in Sarojini. I used to bunk college, and go there. And chaats. Delhi has the best chaats,” she says. “College went in a blur for me. I used to bunk classes, go street shopping. I had a friend who lived close to college, and we used to hang out at his place. I think I was a rebel right from my childhood. I was once thrown out of my school,” laughs Chauhan.
The free-spiritedness comes across in her camaraderie with her three children, aged 18-23. “My name means ‘younger sister’ and I think it has rubbed on to my personality,” she says. “I am like this even with my children. Now they are so grown up that they tell me that I need to act my age.”