Monday, October 27, 2014

The Runaway Bridegroom by Sundari Venkatraman

Sundari Venkatraman


Chanda Maheshwari’s family is shaken when her thirteen-year-old bridegroom Veerendra runs away immediately after the wedding. The eight-year-old child doesn’t even understand the impact on her life. Unable to face their neighbours and friends, the Maheshwaris move from their village to Jaipur and begin a new life in the city.

Fourteen years later, Chanda is studying in a Delhi College. She takes up a temporary job at RS Software Pvt. Ltd. and falls head-over-heels for the boss of the operation. But what about  Ranveer Singh? Is he interested in her?

Ranveer’s secretary Shikha is desperate to make him fall for her. All she wants is life-long security with a rich man. But it’s nerd Abhimanyu who keeps getting in the way. Abhi is Ranveer’s second-in-command and Shikha isn’t keen on him as she’s eyeing the main chance. 

When Ranveer appears to show interest in Chanda, she’s faced with a new problem. Astrologer Vidyasagar insists that she would get back with her husband Veerendra. Does anyone want to know what she wants? 

Chanda feels torn between the man she has fallen for and the family values that have been instilled in her. Will she ever find happiness? 

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Sundari Venkatraman always mixes a social cause with Romance. Though she tries her best to claim that she is not preaching, but just writing a romance, her short, airy romances end up making you question our dogmatic society. In this one- it was about the evils of child marriage, which sadly is still prevalent in our society. 

Chanda -( a mix of Meena Kumari and Aliya Bhatt ???) is getting married. She is just an eight year old child. Reading about her, made me want to pick her up and abscond. But I was saved from kidnapping her, when her child- husband Veerender runs away. As with many of the child-brides, Chanda is left in a strange relationship with a man whom she would never meet. (Kinda reminds me of the movie Water) Does Chanda have the same stoic expression seen so oftne on the faces of the lonely widows in that movie. I think she does. For Sundari Venktaraman has brought out this emotion in the lines -" Chanda held her arms tightly around herself and wondered what she was missing in life. She heard her friends discussing romance and stolen kisses in whispered conversations. But Chanda felt that that life was not hers to live."

Such pathos in the heart of a young girl can only make you want to scream at the mistakes some parents can commit in the name of social rulings. For those who are not well versed with child-marriages in India, it was quite common in the days prior to 1928 when Child Marriage Restraint Act 1929 put a stop to it. Well, it did not. This act is only punishable when someone reports this act or the authorities discover it. But when the whole sect in a particular society follows this act, they hardly get reported. 

But unlike many other parents, Chanda's parents put this incident behind them and moved on, educating their child and making her ready to face the society. Chanda too had accepted her fate and knew love was not for her. But she had not met Ranveer yet, had she ?

Till now Sundari Venkatraman had reigned in words and beautifully etched how our elders lived and her words brought out the patriarchal society with all their bossiness and views. Enters Ranveer and suddenly the landscape becomes modern and happy and of course passionate. With Chanda, the readers are also introduced to the bureaucratic life of Ranveer.  A go getter, a passionate lover and a self made man. But a man with a past. 

Like every love story rises above the others due to a villian, this story has one too. The past of Chanda. Will Chanda be able to choose between her heart and her duty?

What I Liked ....

The simplicity of the story. Sundari Venkatraman is an ace story teller, no doubt.  Her stories are not preachy and she does not accuse the society of anything. An incident happened to a young girl. That's it. She leaves it to the imagination of the readers of what they want to do with the incident. I wanted to punish Dadaji (Grandpa ) however sweet he was. 

The author did not accuse the parents even in one line, yet made me feel ashamed for what they had done. When parents take a wrong decision, how is affects the life of a child is very well portrayed here.

The chemistry between Chanda and Ranveer is sizzling and sweet. Without sounding vulgar, Sundari Venkatraman has been naughty. So the mercury factor has gone up.

What I did not Like ....

Hmmmm... Hmmmph :D Shall I say ? Totally the editor's fault if you must know (facepalm )

Veerender's running away had some loopholes. Just a few. It was too easy and too forgiving. In other words Sundari Venkatraman time has come to write a  masterpiece of more than 75k words.

Disclaimer : The author is my friend and has promised me a pot full of gold at the rainbow's end. She is no leprechaun and I don't see a rainbow. So the reviews remain honest and from my heart till I don't reach the rainbow's end.

Meet the Author

Sundari Venkatraman has authored four ebooks so far, The Runaway Bridegroom being the latest. Three of her books, namely, The Malhotra Bride; Meghna and The Runaway Bridegroom have all been self-published on Amazon under the banner of Flaming Sun. All three books are regularly seen on Amazon’s Top 100 Bestsellers’ Contemporary Romances list. 

A great fan of Mills & Boon romances over the past four decades, Sundari has always believed in ‘Happily Ever Afters’ and all her books promise happy endings. 

The Runaway Bridegroom talks about ‘Child Marriage’, an evil perpetrated even in the 21st century in a country like India. While a large number of the country’s population live in the cities and lead modern lives, there are many who follow old customs unaware of the negative impact on the lives of the younger generation. 

The book is a work of fiction and of course does not preach. The author has but made an attempt to bring this ancient custom to the eyes of the modern public around the world while bringing a simple solution to the protagonists, the victims of child marriage. 

“I hope you enjoy reading the book as much as I loved writing it,” says Sundari Venkatraman. 

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At October 27, 2014 at 3:35 AM , Blogger Sundari Venkatraman said...

Thank you Rubina! I am glad you could relate to my characters. Yeah, who am I to say what the parents did was right or wrong? They knew no different. At least things came to a lovely end. What say? ;)
As I mentioned in my Dedication: "I dedicate this book to all those children in India who are victims of child marriage. I sincerely hope that their lives are sorted out as well as Chanda’s and Veerendra’s."


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