The Recession Groom by Vani is the first book I have ever read that focussed exclusively on a prominent male Indian character. I felt I learned a lot about Indian culture and also about the arranged weddings that take place.
As a teenager, I had many Indian friends at school. After we left school, some of us stayed in touch, and one friend told me he was getting married soon.
When I asked him where he and his wife-to-be would be living, he said simply 'Oh, the same house.'
In English culture, we want to move out as soon as we can, often with devastating consequences! I managed to stay out and remained independent once I had left home. My siblings had to return.
But having read this book, I love the culture it introduced me to.
I have to admit approaching this book wondering if I would really like it. I can happily say it is a truly great book and wonderful debut novel.
It mirrored some of the aspects of my own experiences in the IT world.
Parshuraman Joshi is 27 when we first meet him. He is an IT Professional, lives in Canada, and earns good money doing what he does. For my part, I was 26 when I started working for an IT company, and 35 when 'let go' due to the recession.
It still affects me to this day, to the point that I never wanted to return to work in IT again. So even reading a work of fiction I felt might be quite traumatising for me!
Fortunately, the writing is far from dry, unlike many IT and marketing projects (though the mention of the words 'Project Infinite' had me running for cover!) that some consider sexy - (ugh! No...you'll never convince me of that!)
I really thought it would be about Parshuraman and his wife-to-be, but within a few pages we are introduced to Jennifer, who is a fun character but not really wife material.
Even funnier are the calls Parshuraman receives in the middle of the night from potential father in laws. I can imagine my reaction would be the same as his if I was pushed in this manner.
Things get very interesting when Parshuraman ends up in India to head up the IT project, and has Jennifer along for the ride.
By far the best character is Nani, Parshuraman's grandmother - who has a wit and tenacity with the best of these older generation characters. It makes me want to cherish those around me all the more before we leave this world.
There was nothing pretentious about the writing. The story flows effortlessly and characters are well drawn. It's easy to say some characters are predictable, like the rather bossy sister - but we've all had one of those in our lives!
Overall this is a must read for anyone interested in Indian culture, marriage, Canada, or IT!
It was much better than I thought it was going to be, so I applaud this author for drawing us so easily into her world.
Bravo to Vani!