Monday, August 17, 2009
"Marrying Anita" by Anita Jain-A Book Review
MARRYING ANITA: A QUEST FOR LOVE IN THE NEW INDIA By Anita Jain.Publisher: Bloomsbury: Year 2008: Pages 307: Price Rs 299/-
It is a memoir by an Indian journalist who has worked in top international cities after graduating from Harvard. She is in her 30s and modern as she has been raised in America though her parents are conservative. She has done the works- latenight parties,barhopping,internet dating et al.Yet she hasn’t found a soulmate. Marriage by dating appears to be an illusion and a shattering of her expectations. Realisation dawns that after all marriage by the ancient Hindu tradition of arrangment may not be so bad.Her search for love and marriage brings her back to her parents’ roots. She discovers a whole new world.
Early on in the book Anita Jain quite familiar with American style dating describes a series of missed opportunities and disappointments. Her parents are overtly worried about her single status..Upon returning to the U.S. to live in New York City after a prolonged stint abroad as a journalist, Anita Jain finds herself under more pressure than before to change her single status and starts to question the unchallenged merits of the way Americans chose their mates. She describes the New York dating scene in alternately humorous and despairing terms and, ultimately, decides to travel to India in order to live and work and look for a romantic “broadminded” partner.
She writes in a honest, straightforward, courageous, engaging and humorous style. You don’t feel like dropping the book whatever maybe the distraction. Some of her escapades make delightful reading though one feels sorry that at the end she is a loser. She is in awe of her parents who seem to be made for each other. Her father who takes up the onerous task of managing her online dating profiles is hilarious. Her dates end up with shock and surprise seeing her drinking and food habits. Will Anita find a husband? I won’t let the cat out of the bag. But I promise that you will enjoy the journey with her. The book addresses a major and complex feminist issue. The concept of “choice” in marriage. How it pans out for the women of the current generation. And how conventional wisdom on love, marriage and happiness could be turned upside down. Anita also writes about the new urban India, the changes that have taken place in the last ten years or so.