Friday, June 22, 2012

Indian Maidens Bust Loose by Vidya Samson

Nisha Desai is a young Indian woman who pines for romance in a country where love is in the same class as malaria, and where mates are selected using a calculator. Normally deluged with ghastly suitors of her father's choosing, she suddenly finds herself on the short list for a bride-seeing tour by a rich and handsome nephew of a neighbor. This is the stuff of which dreams are made.
A nightmare materializes when a very un-Indian ruffian moves in next door, complete with beard and obnoxious Harley motorcycle. He might play the bad boy in one of Nisha's beloved romance novels, but in real life, he terrifies her. So she tries to ignore the thundering engine of the bike while anxiously awaiting the arrival of Prince Charming--or at least, Prince Rich.
But arriving first are a long-lost black-sheep American aunt and her trouble-magnet teenage daughters. The aunt proves to be a New Age space case, while the cousins’ appetite for disasters threatens to level the city of Ahmedabad. In short order, the demented cousins instigate an elopement, a public protest, and a riot that gets Nisha thrown in jail. Nisha’s family comes to the conclusion that while East and West may meet, sometimes they shouldn't. The guests are seen as an invading force, equipped with weapons of mass corruption. While Nisha wonders how she can hide her now corroded reputation from the dream suitor's family, insanity marches on. Nisha's father adopts a pet cow and convinces half the city it's the reincarnation of a Hindu deity.
The two families are finally united in a common goal: to bilk thousands. The result is Madison Avenue's idea of a religious experience, which is not a controllable situation.
Indian Maidens Bust Loose is a hilarious romantic comedy set in the land of cows, curry, and the Kama Sutra.

What really captivated me throughout this novel was its spirit. There is such a uniqueness to the writing that it makes it a delight to read. Apart from being laugh-out-loud funny, there are many sweet moments that take this story into deeper literary territory.

The gist of the novel is deceptively simple: two sisters looking to become independent, their own people, despite their father’s strong opposition. Hilarity ensues as the sisters attempt to evade their father’s marriage plans for them.

Something that I notice and for which I applaud the author is that, despite the pitting of one culture (Indian) and another (Western), both sides are written convincingly and with heart. Neither of them are made fun of, which sometimes can happen in these kinds of stories. While there is lots of comedy, it’s all in good fun and not to belittle anyone.

The characters are nicely done, each playing against the other so that we get a good balance of personalities. They are all amusing to read about and I didn’t really find myself disliking any of them, not even the controlling father. 

I would recommend this for anyone who’s looking for a light, quick read that will make you laugh but which still has enough heart to make it memorable.

1 comment:

SF said...

Wow, it sounds like an amazing read! The last novel I read that was set in India did not live up to my expectations, so I would like to give this a try sometime. :)

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