The Telegraph
Friday , December 7 , 2012
Since 1st March, 1999
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A girl’s wedding woes

Book title: Shubh Vivaah

Author: Sweta Chowdhury

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Pages: 212

Price: Rs 165

An extra concerned and worried mother who only wants the best for her daughter, that is, to get her married, for whom MBA in HR (her daughter Anita’s dream career) only means “Marry the Bachelor Around for Household Responsibilities”, Shubh Vivaah is a story about her daughter and everybody around.

The author, Sweta Chowdhury, has caught the weakest nerve of a girl’s life — the stage that comes to every girl at some point of time — marriage. The mental harassment she experiences on the way to reach the pinnacle (Mr Right) from her parents, relatives, neighbours and everybody else (who show great concern for her) is pathetic and not less than hellish.

The writer, who also is a counselling psychologist, met some of her clients going through this depressed stage and thought about penning a story focussing on it as a comic satire. It is about the life of a girl, Anita, who, like the author, is a student of psychology.

The first stage of preparing Anita (Bubbly) for her marriage starts with prodding from their maid Suzi and a neighbour, Gupta aunty, who suggest that she should join cooking classes and get ready for the days “ahead”. Then her father makes her prepare a “marriage bio-data”. She is even made to wear heavy and costly jewellery and make-up to impress guests at a wedding ceremony.

The author, through a simple play of words, makes it clear how society turns something as beautiful as marriage into a compulsory and forced practice.

Though people say marriages are all about destiny and made in heaven, the same people blame the girl or her parents for not getting her married. Society, consequently, makes the family desperate.

Anita represents all those girls who constantly get bullied into getting married.

For a marriage-minded society like ours, the likes and dislikes, emotions and aspirations of a girl are nothing but bubbles that are virtually non-existent. The proposals of marriage are accepted or denied basing on inconsequential criteria like height, complexion and hobbies of the girl and the wedding budget of her parents. All rights of accepting or rejecting proposals rest in the hands of the groom and his family.

Witnessing Anita’s growth from the innocent Bubbly who was just about to finish her graduation in psychology to the Anita who finally finds her Mr Right or “Mr Right Enough” is impressive and natural.

A must read with a happy ending for the girls, the parents and everybody else.