‘How I Braved Anu Aunty and Co-Foundeda Million Dollar Company’ by Varun Agarwal pulls you to snatch the book,exclusively by the value of the title. As the name suggests, it is an autobiographical description ofentrepreneur Varun Agarwal’s attempts to put a stop to Anu Aunty’s influence onhis life. The book very finely captures the emotion of an unemployedgraduate trying to do something different from the painfully ordinary existenceand start something of his own with his friend.
The book goes back to the timewhen the entrepreneurial bug had at long last chomped the Indian youth; howeverthe time which has been depicted in this book was a rough beginning phase ofdevelopment of the new age entrepreneurs in India. This masterpiece by Varun isnot something that will be appealing to the eyes of critics – just as heclarifies in the very beginning that it is no work of Ernest Hemingway.Ironically, this is also the reason for the charm of the book, its simplicityand the captivating style of the author engages the readers in the bestpossible way. His brutally honest narration of the episodes of his life is whatgives this book a unique and fascinating flavor.Varun Agarwal, the protagonistand the author, is an average Indian youngster who has just completed hisengineering but has no clear direction to focus on for his life ahead of him. The story line is simple without any deepplots to understand and analyze.
Major part of the story revolves aroundconquering the fear of a dominant Anu Aunty. Anu Aunty is that neighborhood aunty who always interferes in ourlives and instigates our parents against us. She smiles and pretends to behappy with our success but she wants us to be under her control. On the otherhand, Varun is the kind of a person who takes life as it comes, doing nothingeven after completing engineering. That is when his mother gets fed up of himand takes help of Anu Aunty to get him back on track.Thestory begins with a peek into the history of Varun. He talks about his schooldays when he had his first encounter with Anu Aunty at the open house.
Hismother came across a woman who would go on to represent the culture existing inthe Indian society. Varun gives a perfectdescription of her character by explaining the instance when her son, Arjun,scored 95% and Anu Aunty was left in dismay as she wanted him to score 98%. Hetries to put forward the fact that she was a sadistic person who had theability to make you feel bad about yourself. This beginning of the book gives ajust right insight into the personality and character of Anu Aunty, the femaleprotagonist of the story. According to Anu Aunty, any person wassuccessful only if he/she were an engineer or a doctor. She did not really havea certain amount of faith and belief in entrepreneurship. An ideal career forany graduate would be working in a multinational company with a high payingjob.
She would compare every person with her son who after completing his engineeringgot placed in a brilliant company. Varun was an average student whenit came to studies. His mother was very anxious about his life and Anu auntywould fill her ears up with things like how could she let Varun sit without ajob at home. She was keen on getting him placed at the same firm as Arjun,which at times seemed like a ruse to make him work at a position lower than herson. Thelife story of Varun Agarwal is set in Bangalore and it smells of the citythroughout the book with small little snippets and incidents at some of thefamous places of Bangalore.
He had 4 really close friends whom he wouldmeet occasionally over drinks or at parties. Thenext chapter of the book introduces Varun’s friends and also gives a briefintroduction of Devika, the girl who Varun, and probably all other boys too,liked.One day, Varun and his friends,Sid, Rohit, Mehta and Mal, better known as Rohn Malhotra, who was the other cofounder, were out grabbing a few drinks. Rohn was currently working at KGMP.Varun would find him to be a very constructive and upbeat person; someone whohe thought would help him draw a solid plan for his idea. He took him to the sidefor a cigarette and over the cigarette he told Mal about his idea, the ideathat would spread like wild fire in schools and colleges across the country.
Hedescribed it as School Merchandising. He defined it as making merchandise forstudents of various schools and colleges as well as their alumnus in the formof hoodies and t shirts. Mal listened to it very carefully and was impressedwith the idea.
Thebook has a few chapters scattered throughout which are clearly not vital to thestoryline of the book according to its title but give a brief account of someof the highlights of Varun’s life which somehow impacted his choices and thepath that he had selected.