Author: Shobhan Bantwal
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This is not a typical Indian love story. In fact, nothing about this book is typical. It is a love story, nonetheless.
Set in the conventional backdrop of Konkani culture, still preserved and helplessly (for the elders) blended with the American life, a not-so-young protagonist, Meena, struggles with her unconventional ‘odd’ job and single status, among the family circles. In spite of that she is well loved by her boss, has a select group of loyal friends, and a loving cosy BHLT (been-here-long-time) family.
Throw in a casual date here and then, and life seemed pretty alright – until her first meeting with the firm’s CEO; a tall, dark and handsome fellow Konkani, Prajay! After keeping her head straight and not falling in the traps of love, Meena finds herself a victim of love-at-first-sight. Top that with some family drama contributed by a brother’s matrimonial choice, and an unexpected date that turns into something ‘more’, Meena’s life suddenly gets roller coaster-like!
What happens then is a whirlwind of affairs. Chance brings Meena and Prajay together in expansion projects yet prudence keeps them at arm lengths apart from getting personal. As the plot takes a predictable twist where our heroine finds herself very much in love with the tall and gentle hero, but does nothing about it as his interest in her lies in another direction. Among a lot of turns and friendly nudge from an elderly grand-aunt, the love story takes its form and brings a smile to everyone, including the reader (no spoilers, read and find out!)
The writer has a certain charm in her narration that makes this a breezy and entertaining read. The characters are simple and yet upbeat; it is wonderful to have realistic situations and relatable characters – not overly American or classically Indian. And why wouldn’t they be? After all the author herself is an NRI settled in the US for long years, having a fair opportunity to witness the Indian lifestyles there.
The story at times does conform to clichéd stereotypes yet manages to keep a witty tone to it, making it a fun read. For instance how mothers remain worrisome mothers, be it a Gynecologist or a high school councilor, and how single professional Indian women find the ‘clock-ticking’ warning signs – situations we think are relevant only in India but happen even when they are abroad.
For the perfect combination of monsoon romance and fun, I suggest you pick up The Reluctant Matchmaker, and look ahead to a cozy reading experience.