The space between us and millions like us

January 30, 2009 § Leave a comment

Note: From Jun 07

“The space between us” by Thrity Umrigar
Rating: 3.5/5
Final recommendation: a good read

This book revolves around two women in Mumbai. One called Sera, an upper-middle class widow, another is called Bheema, her maid. While one faces the hidden brutality of her husband while he was alive, the other silently suffers through her husband’s treachery and children’s loss. Both women comfort each other, yet never crossing the line of class that divides them. When Sera’s daughter and her son-in-law comes to live with her, both women see their love as something they wished for. Sera supports Bheema’s family through tough times – Bheema’s husband’s accident, daughter’s death and grand daughter’s education. Yet she cannot get herself to treat Bheema at equal level. She feels guilty about it, chastises herself but can’t break the society’s bonds.
It reminds me of us at a certain level. The bit of hypocrisy which is inherent in all of us but we never let go of it. This book is sad. Pessimist to major extent, but then again, that’s what life is, unfair.

Of Authors who think they can write..

January 30, 2009 § Leave a comment

Note: From Jun 07

“What would you do to save the world?” by Ira Trivedi
Rating: 0/5
Final recommendation: Just Stay Away from it

Read this book few days back and I’ve to admit this book deserves a prize for being one of the crappiest book of century.. It seems she has written it from her own experiences, but does that mean you would torture readers like this. Book is about Miss India contest & the contestants.. Which means it could’ve been a really interesting novel.. gossipy, bitchy.. perfect chick-lit. But, by trying to convince readers that she wasn’t one of the Bimbos who take part in such contests, that she was too good for it.. too brainy.. She has at least convinced me that she’s reallllly tooo goood to be ever read again..
Thank you very much. Now I would like my money back please.

The Hindi-Bindi Club: A Nice Surprise

January 30, 2009 § Leave a comment

Note: Again from Aug 07

The Hindi-Bindi Club by Monica Pradhan .
Rating: 3.5/5
Final recommendation: a good read

To be frank, the only reason I had bought this book was that it looked light hearted enough to be read in Hot afternoon and to be forgotten later on. And was I in for a surprise. Unlike other Indian Authors, Monica Pradhan doesn’t try to find her roots. her characters are well settled and confident in their Indian-American Identities. of course, they have issues (Or how else we will have this book) and Generation Gaps but somehow, they are not over-cooked here.
The main character Kiran is a successful physician, born to Indian immigrants in USA. She married a Rock Musician against her parents wishes and divorced him after finding him in bed with another woman. Her parents didn’t approve of this marriage. However, after being treated for breast cancer, Mother has learned to see things from daughter’s perspective as well. Her struggle is keeping her family together esp after her husband still can’t forgive their daughter. Kiran is now trying to accept her parent’s ways and agreed for
semi-arranged marriage which means posting her profile to matrimonials sites and meeting prospective grooms.
Other characters are Kiran’s childhood friends – Preity and Rani. Both happily married to Americans. While one is haunted by a childhood love she lost due to religion, other struggles to keep her creativity going. Their mothers – Saroj and Uma form the Hindi-Bindi Club along with Kiran’s mother Meenal. These 3 women are long settled in US with their husbands and have raised kids. And now they are facing their own demons. One is having an affair and other is still hurt over being boycotted from her family in India for marrying an Irish-American.
Monica has captured the constant struggle between mothers and daughters in a beautiful form. From understanding the other’s point of view to giving up to gain approval or simply accepting the other the way they are, We all have felt like that at one point or another.
Book is not just about generation gaps or cultural differences, it also touches on religion, partitions and Indian Recipes. Yes, you heard it right, at the end of each chapter, there’s a recipe. Mouth watering dishes and quite good instructions.
I like Monica’s writing style. It’s in narrative form, Chapters by these 6 characters and so beautifully intertwined. It keeps you engaged til you finish it.
Of course, I felt end was bit cliched. But what the heck, you can’t have it all. And sometimes, world does deserve Happy Endings.

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