|Image Credit: Anita Jain|
To concerned readers, my Ipod is alive and working again. I had to drag the dead beast over to another machine, flog it to life, and then it recovered. I watched it spring to life with something close to awe - if only we can 'restore' ourselves to our default settings too! How nice it would be if my soul can rewind and go back to being 3-years old, a time when you actually understand the world because you don't try so hard to? Restore SoulMuser. That should be the next Apple project.
Right, before I turn more readers off this blog with my ramblings, I read Anita Jain's rather revealingly refreshing memoir, ' Marrying Anita.' I was at my sister's house doing the above mentioned Restore on my Ipod on her computer when I saw this on her shelf. Although I was entranced with watching Itunes tell me that I have 45 minutes of downloading its software, I chose to waste my time reading. I picked it up thinking that it was a work of fiction. And later, after turning the book all over, found that it wasn't so. And for a memoir, it is surprisingly candid. Anita combines dry humor and sarcasm well in revealing a life that is often spun on sex, drugs and alcohol. All of which caused a lot of people to cry aghast at her possibly depraving 'Indian values.' But this is a book. A memoir. And we should review the book. Judgements of Anita's life and behavior are too easy to pass.
Suffice to say that I think it was courageous of her to write the way she did, provided that is really the life she has led. Anita is a young American-Indian. Sorry, not young. She is 32. Way too old by Indian standards. Not married. But trying hard. She comes to India to ostensibly find love. Get married is her parents' command. And Anita wants to obey. So hard. What we are then treated to are her romantic capers in Delhi. There are wry observations of the new India that had me chuckling. There are of course, a few who will take umbrage at this base portrayal of 'Indian culture.' I am not one of them. I have lived in India all my life, and I am yet to understand this country's so-called culture enough to give it a name. Marrying Anita is not really a memoir about arranged marriages though - I suspect that is just to attract Western readers. It captures a few months in the life of this woman - and a rather vivid and rare look into present-day India. It's a rather one-sided look, admittedly. I know a lot of Indians who do not drink or party every night. Or move in and out of casual relationships. Yet, there is an easy languid feel to the book. I was intrigued to find out who Anita really marries. And well, I was pleasantly surprised that she offers no easy resolutions.
For a memoir, it's an honest attempt. For that alone I would recommend this book. But please don't be fooled into thinking this is all India. It's just Anita's India.
Verdict: A very readable read.