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Unarranging the Arranged!
Jan 16, 2006 04:06 PM 37213 Views
(Updated Jan 16, 2006 04:07 PM)



Let me finally write about something that is for once in the right category!

(Un)arranged Marriage is a book by a first time writer. This was my primary reason for getting the book from the shelf. Second being the title and the third; the writer...He looked cute and sensible! So now that I had so many worthy reasons of getting this book, I had to read it and review it as here comes the review:)

The book is about a family based in UK. It is a regular punjabi family; which are no so different across the globe. You will always have the regular setup where the Dad is earning and so is the voice of the house and family. The mom would be in the background, saying yes and no; nothing more is expected out from her. The children have to be a mix of sons and daughters who will be obedient or not so obedient...again a typical family set up...coming to what this family is all about...Here we have a Punjabi NRI dad who does the best he can...he educates his children to an extent that they can get decent spouses...he has 3 sons and he has happily done away with his duties of marrying of the elder he is targeting the youngest son Manjit...This is the story of Manjit, his family through his eyes.

Manjit's mom is the ''typical'' mom, who is mute, cooks, non decision maker and cribs the good old lord! She doesnt voice her concersn over the early marriage of his two sons and will not comment on the marriage of the thir at 17! She knows her strength ( at blackmailing her kids by crying out loud) and she uses it to her benefit. She is one of the passive members of the household.

Manjit has 2 brothers who are uneducated, young and married. They have done their father proud by getting married at the ripe age and in time they will make him becoming fathers when told! A funny situation to read about but very sarcastic to get into:)

Talking about the hero of the plot...Manjit is actually trying too hard to free himself from the clutches of his family. He hates their beliefs, their ideas and everything about them in general! He is a rebel at heart and firmly follows this...he has to oppose everything his family does for him and he is quite right in doing that.

Coming to why I would rate it ok and not recommend it; the book is an attempt at being different. The book gets increasingly closer to reality as you start realising that these things do happen with you...The family habits, the ideas and the talks, they are same as home...A punjabi would feel at home with this book; because he or she will realise that '' Yup! it makes sense!'' the book is an honest attempt is showing what a younng NRI Teenager would feel in a country like UK or USA. He or she is justified in feeling a little left out, feeling of not belonging and feeling of being a misfit. All is accepted! But at the same time, he or she will be willing to take a shot at his culture, his language and his people. Again, a fully accpeted view point...

The trouble with the book was the feeble attempt at portraying a character which could have been dealt with a little more strongly. It looked liked the aurhor was confused with the characters and did a quick go at them when needed or not needed...The book was an enjoyable read because I liked the subtle humor in it. Also the need of being different but still belonging to the clan was something that I always feel and could relate to...

The writing style of Bali Rai is good! He can write well but needs to improve. He managed to keep the audience's interest intact but would have done better. Some incidents make you laugh out loud and feel good. Somewhere you think that this could have been avoided. Therefore the book is a ix of bad and all books! but somehow it didnt make me recommend it...

As a fellow punjabi, the mannerisms written about, the language and the ideas...all make me realise that being a punjabi feels great! A person belonging to a strong regional base, will always be related to his or her roots. You cannot let go of your culture and your values however hard you try! I have seen loads of people who try to shirk the label of being a punjabi, a jain or a bengali...they do it beacuse they want to sound different, look different or want to be accepted. A clear contrast; when you yourself are willing to let go of your identity, how on earth will you be justified in accepting somethg that is not yours!

  • The review was started early morning, by the time it finished; it is evening. Again a random flow of thoughts! Hope they link to one:)

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(Un)arranged Marriage - Bali Rai