Saturday, July 20, 2013

Rupa Gulab - The Great Depression of the 40s

The book is about 4 women, Mantra, Anjali, Reshma and Samira.

Mantra is married happily to Vir.  They have an easy relationship, no children, lots of banter, no sex.  Mantra has lost her mojo and Vir is begining to be pissed by it.  She has just left her job and wants to write a book and/or freelance.  Vir is having troubles of his own at work.

Vir's sister, Anjali has a perfect marriage.  She has a dream husband and a teenaged boy.  But she finds herself getting attracted to the ex-boyfriend who has just come back into her life.

Reshma is Mantra's maid.  She is a terrible cook but can speak flawless English.  She is carrying on with the driver, Makrand.  Not a wise idea as Makrand is already married.

Samira is Mantra's upstairs neighbour.  She is being beaten black and blue by her rich husband.  She refuses to lodge a complaint as she seems to think she will be able to reform her man.

Here is a perfect book for light reading. It is not about someone's college issues, or a maudlin love story.  It is a perfectly crafted book about an eventful year in the life of Mantra.

Mantra is a smart, thinking, affectionate woman.  She is her own person.  She is a modern Indian woman who does not care to conform to the stereotype of either Bharatiya Nari or Firangi Vamp.  She smokes, drinks and lets her house go to the dogs if she feels like it.

She is just the kind of girl I would like to have as a friend.

The book is not sweet, it is kind of spicy and crispy like a well made plate of chaat.  There were SO many times that I broke out in chuckles over something.  Quite like I would if I were reading Wodehouse.  Ole PG also wrote about light happenings in lives of young wastrels! 

The editing is excellent and the language is, thankfully, perfect.  This quality is rather difficult to come by in Indian-English fiction.  The author credits the good editing to her sister Kushalrani Gulab.

Rupa Gulab has written several books.  I remember not liking Girl Alone much.  I read that years ago.  I should give it another shot.  Maybe I was not in the right frame of mind at the time. I liked Chip of the old Blockhead, but it was more YA fiction.  I will pick up I Kissed a Frog as well and see if it is as good as this book.


Raja Swaminathan said...

Very nice review, Ava. You have a knack of writing these reviews in such an easy-to-read, yet informative manner! It is always a pleasure to read your book reviews. You should do more of these.

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