Tag Archives: Marriage

Vikram Seth’s “A Suitable Boy”

This is one of the longest books in single volume that I have read. It was released with lot of hype in 1993. To some extent it lived up to the expectation but still it was a very long book. I remember having struggled to get it from library for reading. The story of “A Suitable Boy” is about a mother’s search for a suitable bridegroom for her daughter Lata’s marriage. Lata is young and vulnerable and ready to fall in love and not get influenced by her mother’s choices. At the same time, there are pressures of society and culture. But with that central story the book is also a commentary on post Independence India.

Vikram Seth has created a vast network of characters and family trees and through them he is talking about all the issues that were influencing the country at that time. It covers caste issues, land reforms, crumbling feudal system, academic affairs, social relationships in various communities and host of other issues. In a way this book has multiple stories going on simultaneously but the author is bringing them together with a common thread.

Even though the author has handled his story very well, the book is long and takes a lot of time and since the characters are related in complex way, it requires to be read without too much gap. I still have one grudge against the author. He translated a very good hindi song in English and presented only English version in the book. He should have retained the hindi version in English alphabet as well. The song was “Uth Jaag Musafir Bhor Bhai” that is “Get up traveller it is morning”

I have been reading that he is planning to come up with a sequel to the book where Lata will be searching for a “A Suitable Girl” for her grandson. I am looking forward to getting my hands on that as soon as it comes out.


Filed under Fiction

Chetan Bhagat’s “Two States”

I have liked this book from Chetan Bhagat most as compared to his other books, even better than “Five Point Someone”. It is a  very simple story where you almost know what is going to be the end but you are curious to read how it is going to happen. The beauty of the book is not in the story as much as it is in the narration of completely different cultures of north and south of India. Again the view is more from the Delhi Guy perspective but still it captures a lot of South Indian Tamil nuances.

The story also feels real to me since I have many friends who have married across different cultures and have gone through similar experiences. To an outsider, it might seem why I am calling it different culture because Krish and Ananya are both from India but Indians would know that Punjabis and Tamilians are as different a culture as possible in everything they do except for common mythology, name of religion and Bollywood. I mentioned the “name of religion” since even if they are Hindus, the practicing and rituals are very different. This difference in culture becomes more pronounced during marriages. To young people the difference is not so much because we all have inherited our education from same system, TV, Internet and Movies but for one generation old people the difference is real and to accept it is very difficult.

To capture this difference and still bring about a union of two families is what makes this book a great read. I read the whole book in one single sitting. I just could not put the book down. Now when I think about it, I am not able to say one particular thing that I would have liked most but while reading it, I could visualize multiple marriages that I have attended both in North and South India.


Filed under Fiction