Saturday, May 31, 2014

The Perfect Groom By Sumeetha Manikandan


The Perfect Groom by Sumeetha Manikandan




The Blurb

Very little has gone right in Nithya’s young life. So, when a proposal from a young, handsome NRI comes along, her mother jumps at the opportunity and packs her daughter off to the US with her perfect groom.

Nithya seems to have settled in with Ashok, ostensibly happy, if as yet childless, in her new life. When an old flame comes back into her life, however, the cracks in her perfect marriage begin to show…

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Sumeetha Manikandan


Review

There are stories and then there are Stories. Every story should have a storyline which touches one's soul, a reader can resonate and end of the day does two things. Go to sleep with a smile and dreams of Salmaan Khan or contemplate about the biggest question in the universe. What if? What if I was Nithya? What if I was the NRI housewife who had to go through all that she is going through. What if my life is a series of unnatural events. I shiver to think what I will do  under such circumstances.

Sumeetha Manikandan in her introduction to this short novella and in some of the interviews I have read about her has made it clear that this story is a take off from a real life incident. First of all Hats off to whoever Nithya is. She deserves the respect of every married woman.

Nithya belongs to a middle class family. She, along with her sister and mother, is under the ‘care’ of their Uncle. Her biggest bone of contention with her Uncle, is that they have kept her mom as a glorified servant of the house and both Nithya and her sis would have had to follow the same path had not a relative taken up the expenses of their education. But all her education is swept aside, when she is forced to marry an NRI who wanted a docile Indian wife. 

Sumeetha weaves the story around the couple, giving her readers just the right amount of glimpses of what Nithya’s married life was like. We see her unhappiness, her loneliness and her desire for companionship. The question is why. Why was her husband Ashok an utter cad?

Then enters Vasu, Her childhood friend with whom her marriage was almost fixed. Vasu who had suffered the same way as she had under the ‘generous’ nature of their uncle. They had a common past that binds them together. What they had not expected was the smoldering passion, which was never there before, to suddenly erupt between them. On one hand Nithya is bound by tradition and marriage and on the other hand, her heart finally starts beating with the love she had for so long craved. Where will this journey of Nithya end?

What I liked ….

Such a short story packed with such a big social issue. Nithya’s journey to discover her own self is very beautifully etched. Sumeetha has done a wonderful job in introducing her readers to the beautiful Mylapore. She lets us peak into the Tamil Culture of India with such minute details that I really felt I was walking on the streets of Kumbokonam. From Mylapore to California, the journey we see through Nithya’eyes is commendable. 

The strong female protagonist is another plus point of this story. Nithya is not a cry baby waiting for the hero to save her. She is not a paragon of virtue who faints every time her harmones remind her that she is also a woman with desires. Her being  a strong woman, taking care of her mom and sis is both her strength and poison. Her reason to lead the life that Ashok forces her to lead. 

Rating



Reasoning 

1. The story takes  few turns of pages to get to you. But when it does, it makes you want to keep on turning the pages.

2. For a person, not well versed with the Tamil culture, it will be a bit intimidating to be fed so many Tamil words in a go. Maybe if explanations were on the same page or weaved into the sentences, it would have been better. But then this topic is a sure debate with many writers. Writers from all over the world, especially India are still trying to understand what is the best way to weave a colloquial language into a story. 




Meet the author



The Author's Thoughts

An author and a freelance writer, Sumeetha Manikandan has been writing for many years now. After working in dotcom companies, like Sulekha for over a decade, she started freelancing from home. 

Her debut novella, 'The Perfect Groom' was initially written in a script format, which was later converted into a novella for Indireads. The Perfect Groom touches a taboo subject that is most often shrouded in secret whispers and exclamations in the tambrahm community. Inspired by a real anecdote, 'The Perfect Groom' is in parts the true story of a girl who rose above myriad challenges to make her own way in life.
     
  
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