The TamBrahm Bride 21/03/2011

The  TamBrahm Bride

A  novel by Kausalya Saptharishi

An Indian Writing Publication

33/15,Eldams Road

Chennai 6ooo18, India

Price rs.200/

The TamBrahm Bride  divided into three parts  is set in Delhi, in the year 1999 and  the book opens  with    “ Nineteenth Proposal  and Still Counting.”  As you read on  you  can predict   the story line, the  continuing   hegemony  of “eligible” grooms  over  eligible  brides  in  the matrimonial scenario. Added to this  are  the self seeking  astrologers and matchmakers  glorifying  the grooms, (more so if  they are  the NRI  variety )   not to speak of the  would be mothers-in-law  with their  embarrassing  queries and  not thinking   twice in proffering  advice    making  the  plight  of the  protagonist even worse.

In  the matrimonial journey  of Shalu, we come across interesting characters, like Natarajan who makes matchmaking a full time business, not accepting a fee for service provided but  not objecting   to   large  monetary  deposits  from Dubai   to his account,  the highly westernized   Karthik Raman  expressing his  candid views  on Indians :  “I am a complete American convert. Americans walk the talk and talk the talk, unlike many of us Indians who wallow in hypocrisy” , or the chartered accountant from Cochin, who turns out to be  four inches shorter than Shalu!

Then we have  one Mrs.Ganesan (mother of an NRI son working in Philadelphia)  who  thinks  photos taken in a  studio look artificial and  wishes to have  casual  photos  –one in a sari, one in salwar kameez  of Shalu sent  to her by Parvathi, Shalu’s mother  while  she has no qualms about  her son Arun Ganesan’s photo where  he   looks like  a  Himalayan explorer, a tiny speck next to a colossal mountain covered in snow.The best part was the ski goggles he wore obliterated whatever  little one could  have gleaned about his personality which makes Parvathi think  the photo might impress a travel magazine but not her.  Again there is  the diminutive  Mrs.Baskaran, refreshingly modern  dressed in FabIndia salwar kameez  and proud of  her   club going culture warranting   unwanted advice  to Shalu  as to how she could  get her  overlapping tooth rectified.

The main reasons  for rejecting Shalu, the family realizes are  her  1.Looks and wheatish complexion ;2.Non –computer background; and 3. “Delhi girl”(whether she would fit into a southIndian TamBrahm family). After  the 25th.Bride viewing  and a mini Bharat Darsan  in the process , the Sunderans resort  to, Panditji and  Prayers  which provides a dash of hope  to the dejected family.

Kausalya Saptharishi  has  not  only  captured the period of the IT boom in America when  it was on a hiring  overdrive to man its computers fearing a Y2K catastrophe but  has also vividly  presented   the attitudes and behavior  of the IT brigade  and their  parents, especially of the mothers. There are the lighter moments too, for instance when one aspired to become “Mrs.Kohinoor” , —   the crème-de-la-crème among US TamBrahm boys  who constituted the celebrated scientists, the whiz –kid  academicians, the brilliant doctors and the millionaire entrepreneurs whose alma maters were the Ivy Leagues. When Sunderason    made bold to  apply to a newspaper ad. For a Wall Street banker –a Wharton MBA  from a well connected business family, the boy’s grandfather asked that Shalu’s high school mark sheets included in the BHP (biodata-horoscope and photo set). He  wrote : “Please highlight her performance in Maths, Physics and Chemistry from class 8 to class 12 .’’

Does  Shalu  who unfortunately hasn’t inherited her mother’s beauty and complexion  but otherwise accomplished  withstand  the onslaught  and ultimately come out triumphant  or remain a spinster  the rest of her life  is the question.

Tailpiece:  A book has an added interest  when one attends the Book launch  where you are informed  that  every book has  an element  of autobiography  in it. Having aroused the curiousity of the reader, it would have been nice if the author  who is said to be based in the U.S. with her family had  mentioned  its members in   her profile.

N.Meera Raghavendra Rao

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3 thoughts on “The TamBrahm Bride 21/03/2011

  1. V Raghavan

    Very amusing indeed!

    There is also another side to such stories. My cook’s daughter found a groom of her own choice and the wedding is scheduled this summer. The only thing the cook and her husband find difficult to swallow is that the groom is not TamBrahm!

    They are facing huge difficulties in finding a bride for their son. Perhaps the would-be m-i-l is evaluating the would-be d-i-l too strictly about the prospects of her willingness to look after the would-be p-i-ls in old age! She certainly would not have a non TamBrahm d-i-l in the house!!

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