Title: Love and Marriage in Mumbai
Author: Elizabeth Flock
Love and Marriage in Mumbai is a true account of what may be considered as the real face of marriage & love in modern day India. A clash of traditions and modernity is what India is witnessing these days. Amidst this chaos and humdrum, where does the sacred institution of marriage stands? And what kind of space does love acquire in this India?
The author, having lived with a dozen of couples in Mumbai, tells us here the story of three couples [that] stood out from the rest. The book captures the life story of these couples over the span of one and a half decade. This is, as the author states, a work of non-fiction- a true account of the lives of three couples.
I liked them because they were romantics and rule breakers. … They seemed impatient with the old middle-class morals. And where the established rules for love did not fit their lives, they made up new ones.
In the author’s note, she clearly states how generalizations don’t work of a large and diverse country like India. This book is not just a study of love and marital relationshios in India, but also an attempt on the part of the author to present an authentic picture of the modern day India.
…the book that I wanted to read about India- that I wanted Americans to read about India- did not exist.
The three couples that the author portrays in this book are distinctive from each other and represent the people from different sections of the Indian society. Veer and Maya hail from a Marwari family and have a love marriage. But Veer has a past and isn’t sure whether it is money that matters more to him or Maya.
Shahzad and Sabeena are Sunni Muslims. Having the dearth of a child in their lives, Shahzad and Sabeena have a world which is quite different and at times difficult. Ashok and Parvati are Tamil Brahmin Hindus. They come together through an arranged marriage. While everything in India is changing, the institution of arranged marriage is bound to face a crisis too.
The author presents the lives of these couples in three different time periods. And we see these characters, I’d rather say people, evolving over the years. They are seen fighting with their past, sacrificing dreams for the other person, making compromises and indulging into extra marital affairs. And they are very much like any couple that we may find in our own family or neighborhood.
It felt great reading about these characters because I knew that this is something that is actually happening in the world around us. Elizabeth Flock’s writing style is crystal clear. I was engaged till the ending and I felt myself to be a part of these couples’ lives.
The only thing that I didn’t like about this book or rather the choice of couples is that all the three couples remain together despite the issues that they have. And even the ending makes it sound that they’ll continue living together. Divorce is a common phenomena in India these days. So, had there been even one couple deciding to part ways, I would have found this account of love and marriage in Mumbai more authentic.
Other than that I enjoyed this book. Recommended to all readers, if looking for something light and realistic.
My Rating: ***(3.4/5)
What do you think about this book? And what are your views on love and marriage in general? Do share your thoughts. Thanks.
*I was sent a copy of the Publisher in exchange for a review. Views expressed are entirely personal & unbiased.*