Posts Tagged ‘Indian Culture’

When Dimple Met Rishi

Sandhya Menon
Dimple Shah has it all figured out. With graduation behind her, she’s more than ready for a break from her family, from Mamma’s inexplicable obsession with her finding the “Ideal Indian Husband.” Ugh. Dimple knows they must respect her principles on some level, though. If they truly believed she needed a husband right now, they wouldn’t have paid for her to attend a summer program for aspiring web developers…right?
Rishi Patel is a hopeless romantic. So when his parents tell him that his future wife will be attending the same summer program as him—wherein he’ll have to woo her—he’s totally on board. Because as silly as it sounds to most people in his life, Rishi wants to be arranged, believes in the power of tradition, stability, and being a part of something much bigger than himself.
The Shahs and Patels didn’t mean to start turning the wheels on this “suggested arrangement” so early in their children’s lives, but when they noticed them both gravitate toward the same summer program, they figured, Why not?
Dimple and Rishi may think they have each other figured out. But when opposites clash, love works hard to prove itself in the most unexpected ways.

What are your overall thoughts?

I was initially attracted by the premise of a romantic comedy set against the backdrop of an arranged marriage. It was a premise that I hadn’t come across before in a contemporary romance and I couldn’t imagine how an arranged marriage, a concept that seems so completely other to my own background, would work in a setting with modern young adults, let alone how it could be written in a way that was comedic and romantic. I was curious to see how the author was going to make it work.

I was absolutely delighted with the results. From Dimples and Rishi’s refreshing first meeting (literal and figurative), until I turned the final page, what felt and inconceivably short time later, I sat with a goofy grin on my face, loving every awkward, romantic and snort out loud moment of it.

(Yes, it is entirely possible to give your e-reader a contented squeeze but points have to go to paperbacks, which are infinitely more confortable to hug).

What was your favorite aspect of the book?

Not since Jack positioned Rose on a chaise lounge aboard the Titanic has the pursuit of artistic expression gotten me so hot under the collar *fans self * who need chocolates and roses when these boys have stubby pencils and acres of talent to woo and seduce.

If you haven’t all ready surmised, I absolutely loved that we were able to explore Rishi’s passion for art, I only wish that we had spent a little more time exploring Dimples passion for computer coding.

Although the book is set during a summer university coding program, it felt very much like the device to get the two characters in the right place at the right time, rather than an integral part of the story.

The majority of the focus of the summer program was spent preparing for a talent show. While I’m a little confused as to its relevance in a tech competition, I actually loved all of the preparation for the couple’s talent entry.

I really enjoyed the references to the characters Indian cultural heritage, it made me curious to learn more and I will definitely be searching out more books with culturally diverse characters.

Folllowing on for the book I am particularly keen watch a Bollywood movie and check out the dance numbers!

Who was your favorite character and why?

Rishi Patel. He was kind, generally level headed, considerate and romantic, a most swoon worthy leading character. I found myself sympathetic to his point of view when given the context of his passion for his heritage and his devotion to his family.

I really enjoyed how he an Dimples complemented and challenge each other particularly in relation to how they developed in their interactions with their families.

Would you recommend this book?
Yes, it was the perfect coming of age, feel good summer romance.

Summarize in one sentence.
A thirst quenching iced chai latte, of a summer Rom Com, which I gulped down in a single sitting.

Reviewed by Caroline

Publisher: Simon Pulse
Publication Date: May 2017
Format: e Book
Pages: 380
Genre: contemporary romsnce
Age: YA
Reviewer: Caroline
Source: Netgalley
Challenge: Debut author
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The Space Between Us

Thrity Umrigar

Set in contemporary Bombay, ‘The Space Between Us’ tells the story of Sera Dubash, an upper-middle-class Parsi housewife and Bhima, the woman who works as a domestic servant in her home. Despite their class differences, the two women are bound by the bonds of gender and shared life experiences – both had marriages that started out with great romantic love and promise, but ended up as crushing disappointments. Ultimately, Sera Dubash faces a decision that will force her to choose between loyalty to gender and friendship or loyalty to her social position and class.

This story does a great job of tackling some of the issues in Indian society head on. There is no trying to tidy away the grim side of the poverty and inequality suffered by many and particularly by women in India.

The women in this story jump off the page and pull you into their world with all its tensions and difficulties. Bhima and Sera are so real and so intriguing in both their similarities and their differences. We find out about their histories through flashbacks, these show what has happened to bring the women where they are today. Both women have very difficult moments to look back on and horrible things that have happened to people in their families. However both of them have remarkable courage and resilience in the face of adversity.

This grimness maybe off putting to some, and there are some incredibly poignant moments in the story, but it does meant that we get a full picture of the relationships between friends, husbands and wives and mothers and children. The events of the story, such as dealing with the AIDS epidemic in India, makes it about real people and not just something happening in a country a long way away. The story also highlights the changes India is coming to terms with as the new generations move away from the values held by their parents and grandparents.

Thrity Umrigar also writes beautiful prose, she has the ability to create memorable and realistic pictures with her words. I particularly enjoyed the way she could incorporate Indian words and terms into her writing, and yet it remains so understandable and accessible.

Ultimately the relationship between these two women is put to the test. Sera has to decide whether her friendship with Bhima, who is so much lower than her, is more important than her status and wealth. The outcome may not surprise but I found it really interesting that the author actually leaves quite a few ends untied and in part the story stops rather than ends. This is not to say that Thrity doesn’t round it off, and the ending is cleverly done, but there is still plenty left to think about and decide for yourself.

Verdict: A brilliant depiction of life in a totally different culture to our own, and yet so many issues that are simply part of the human condition. A great read.

Reviewed by Helen

Publisher: Harper Perennial
Publication Date: February 2007
Format: Paperback
Pages: 320
Genre: Family Sage, Indian Culture
Age: Adult
Reviewer: Helen
Source: Borrowed
Challenge: None
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