2 States

This is going to be a more personal review than usual – mainly because I could so identify with the challenges of cross-state marriages – I had one myself.

And as a matter of fact, most of my friends did too – they chose their own partners, usually from a different community. Infact, I am scheduled to attend one wedding next month. And it doesn’t seem abnormal at all, does it ? Choosing a life partner is hard enough, without having to ensure that she speaks Oriya or Gujarati or whatever your mother tongue is !

Plus, isn’t the arranged marriage crowd a minority now ? You would think so if you went through my friend list :)

Unfortunately, there is a vast part of the country that is still very uncomfortable with the idea – if not horrified by it - as characters in the book are. They still cant wrap their head around the idea of a guy choosing his own girl, let alone happily accepting a daughter/son-in-law from a different part of the country. I don’t have to look further than my own first cousins for it. Its more pronounced in certain communities I think - whose sense of culture is very strong and all-pervasive. And so author couldnt have set his novel in two more apt communities than the Punjabis and Tamils.

The story is a simple (almost made for a movie) story – Punjabi boy meets Tamil girl and they fall in love. They want to get married, but only with their parents blessings. However parents need a bit more convincing than “I love him/her”. And when would-be-in-laws come face to face with each other – sparks inevitable fly – which jeopardizes things even more.

What made the book really enjoyable for me was the setting of the movie and the leads – they fall in love while studying in IIMA – and their courtship has a delightful current of humour throughout. Ofcourse, I am not even remotely hinting to be as funny as leads of the book, but given the backgrounds of me and my wife, it touched a chord somewhere. And again, like the book couple, we had more than our share of disagreements over wedding arrangements (thankfully getting parents to agree for the wedding was easy) – but getting two completely different cultures to appreciate each others rituals and customs is one head-bursting exercise !!

The book is priced at less than a multplex tickets cost (Rs 95). And it’s a good 3-4 hour read (I confess I am a fast reader, so you might take a bit longer). But highly recommended for a happy read all the same

PS – If you like the idea, here is an account of a similar wedding, condensed to a blog post and much more humorously written - http://www.whatay.com/2007/01/14/two-weddings-milk-cake-mustard-fields-and-pallo-latke-part-1/

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