To be honest, enjoying reading modern Indian writers is a bit of a rarity for me. Whisking aside books that have made a big impact worldwide like The God of Small Things, Interpreter of Maladies, Midnight’s Children, The Inheritance of Loss to name a few, I do not enjoy picking up an Indian author. Maybe the fact that they are all too mushy and are mostly about the various shades of love and are largely one dimensional has to do something with it. I have never read Chetan Bhagat and I took great offence when during a brainless game which our office HR made us play, a girl guessed my favourite author to be the said gentleman. I almost burnt her with my gaze. Now before you jump on me to be anti-Indian writers, let me add that irrespective of the country to which it belongs, the story is the real hero of a book. And India is such a vast country that it can never be complicated to find a story that touches you immensely. I am still on this quest and opening up to Indian novels with great caution.
Being utterly romantic myself, I am not against love stories but our cinema churns and throws out a substantial amount of them at us every month. So when it comes to reading a book, I would really not appreciate a nauseating Déjà Vu. In short, I would prefer Life of Pi over Five Point Someone, I would prefer something which gives me a different perspective, something which shows me a world I have not seen before. I did find The Mine by Arnab Ray quite chilling at places and Amish’s first two installations of the Shiva Trilogy decent enough but these were rare cases and not the norm.
So, I picked up Just Married Please Excuse with tonnes of apprehensions and was very confident that I would not be able to reach the conclusion. The story of this book is something a lot of us have experienced and lived. It is about a couple working for a private firm who fall in love despite their opposite approach towards life and family and how they cope with the differences. Maybe because I was not having very high expectations from the book, I was able to enjoy it. Despite having a very thin story-line the book was utterly humorous. Yashodhara Lal has a writing style which will make you smile throughout the book. It is not one of those books that rattle your brain but all it does is tickle you and that I believe was the sole purpose of the writer. As long as you do not compare, you will be pretty much content.
There are incidences like the one where the couple try to buy a piece of land near Bangalore, their ordeal with the maids and their sessions with a counsellor which will make you chuckle. It is difficult not to relate to the book because it reminds us of all such silly and funny incidences of our own life. Even when the writer is not narrating a story which is path-breaking, it does serve a humorous perspective to the everyday life of an urban couple. It might be something not worth mentioning, but I found that the book had a magnanimous usage of Hindi at a lot of places. I feel that this limits your readers. Pick up this book if you like reading light humorous books over a cup of coffee. It is a breeze. It has given me courage to include the untouched galaxy of Indian authors in my Books Universe.
Every time I see a blogger go ahead and publish his/her book, it gives me another boost to finish my own book which I am writing on and off from the last three years. Just Married Please Excuse gave it a final push. I finished the fifth draft of my novel which looked alarmingly mummified since the last time I had touched it. Not to mention that I will be entering the untouched galaxy myself about which I have been so critical. Scary.
[image from here]