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Title: A Newlywed’s Adventures in Married Land

Author: Shweta Ganesh Kumar

Publisher: Indireads

ISBN: 9780991960040

Pages: 120

Book Excerpt

Author Spotlight Interview

My Review:

Dependent” is a label that no female on this earth would assimilateAutographed cover of A Newlywed's Adventures in Married Land effortlessly and so was the state of Mythili. This novella, running parallel to the juvenile fiction “Alice in Wonderland” is the adventurous journey of Mythili, (Alice’s metaphor), a newlywed and now a workaholic turned “dependent.”

The novella tumbles down the readers with Mythili into a rabbit-hole (of matrimony) in the pursuit of a white rabbit (her husband, Siddarth) to wonderland (married land i.e. Manila, Philippines). This new city inhabited by strange characters, at-least for her (including Sid’s social friends, a head hunter and Sid’s ex)  who constantly turn Mythili’s married life upside down with mind boggling logics (actually nonsense) and clever word plays.

During her fantastical adventurous journey, do not miss to experience and notice extraordinary changes in her persona, behaviour and character. The couple experiences how much they love each other, even more when married after having a long distance relationship. Although, in a different way. Are you thinking – how? Well, you need to read-on to find the answer.

Summary

It starts as Mythili who has come to India for attending her younger sister’s marriage retires to bed for taking rest after wedding madness. Finding difficult to sleep she picks up their (her own and her sister’s) childhood classic and begins to read about this little girl in a blue dress and white pinafore running after a rabbit that was late. Who was this girl and why was the rabbit late? This girl was the main lead of the story that she was reading and the story was– ‘Alice in Wonderland’.

The novella progresses with every single chapter starting with opening lines from this inspiring fiction and continuing with the Mythili’s own narration about her life. Moving three years backwards, she was a successful crime reporter (back in Bangalore, India) and after four and a half years of long distance relationship, they finally get married. After marriage, she accompanies her husband to Manila – the married land (metaphor Wonderland) with a visa bawling her new status as – a ‘dependent’. The narrative is her journey from a ‘dependent’ to a ‘self-dependent’ status filled with unexpected adventures.

During her adventurous journey, the readers roam around Manila with Mythili’s outlook and snoop around with her personal monologues. After a few days of marriage, as they continue with their normal routine they find that, a married life was altogether different from that of what they had experienced during the long distance relationship. She (
like Alice) finds that strange characters (such as – Mother hen, Fakeena, Enthucutlet, Maami, Jack and Jill, Joel and not to miss – Sarah) populate the strange city and that they were unlike anybody whom Mythili had met before. As they meet, chat and respond in most irrational ways, the more she tries to understand them the more she gets confused, ultimately affecting her married life.

Bordered with guilt of being unemployed, surrounded with drastically different Indians and vicious circles of madding social tea parties, she feels herself to be a perfect unfit for these circumstances. It seems to her that being idle and gossiping (about mother-in-law, vegetable prices and such topics), is not a part of her persona and this frustrates her. Infuriated Mythili decides to take up a ‘self – dependent’ lifestyle once again and restarts blogging by ranting about her boring life on her old blog ‘Random Rants’.

What do you think – Will writing rants provide her with some solution? Will she able to understand the strange people around her and vice-versa? How do these people influence and change her life and thoughts? Will her new identity bar her marriage to work? Will she able to find and define her identity once again?

Just go and get your copy to find out how she comes of this rabbit hole as a wise ‘self-dependent’ woman.

About Characters:

          Mythili: who is Alice metaphor; was a hard-nosed crime reporter who loved her job as chief ferreting-out-information officer in the city of Bangalore.

          Siddarth: who is White Rabbit metaphor; is Mythili’s husband based in Manila, Philippines. He works in a MNC in night shifts.

          Desi Gang: (metaphor: strange creatures that Alice meets during her journey) are strange people with strange beliefs. They are actually Sid’s social friends comprising an Indian group made by the Indian homemakers living in Philippines and embracing their husband’s work friends and later on their families.

To name a few they were:

o   Mother Hen: who worked for a real estate agency before marriage; She now, dispenses the wisdom of ages (about 11 years of stay in Philippines) whenever she spoke.

o   Fakeena: who was earlier an airhostess but now nothing more than a cheap pirated Gucci bag.

o   Enthucutlet: who was mother of two and blissfully unemployed. She was enthusiastic and bouncy with boundless reserves of cheer, something that Mythili envied.

o   Maami: who were a south Indian and a programmer from America.

o   Bones: who was wife to a very good-looking husband and who lived on diet soda, a piece of fruit and treadmill.

          Joel: who was the metaphor caterpillar; he was a recruiter and suffered from an attention deficiency disorder.

          Jack and jill: Jack was Sid’s colleague and Jill was his pregnant wife.

          Sarah: is Sid’s ex-girl friend who is happy to reconnect with him and his wife such that it makes Mythili feel insecure and she tries to piant the roses red.

My recommendation

At a first glance, this is a light-hearted and charming fantasy. The author uses simple yet ingenious language making it interesting to read. Its narrative course, storyline, sequence of actions, characters and metaphors make it equally influential as the traditional juvenile fiction.

I like the very fact that Shweta – the author, depends more on the situations, characters and their reactions in those situations rather than any unnecessary attempt for character scrutiny. She has nowhere overdone the newlyweds overindulgence in their intimate needs and reactions.

She does not limits the scope of the novella to just a read but rather provides it a didactical (educational / grooming) purpose as well by intelligently describing Mythili’s growth from an unruly cynical and jaded girl to a wise and a ‘self-dependent’ woman.

By the end of the story, Mythili (and the reader as well) experiences that life can change you, your beliefs, your opinions, your actions and reactions to transform you into a better and wise human being. It helps to understand that married life does not comes along with a definitive rule book or a cheat sheet and that smiling Facebook profile images and status do not represent happily married lives.

No-doubt a must read for expat women and every other married woman (irrespective of her ethnicity) and who have left behind everything (including her true self) just to follow her husband after marriage. Surprisingly, you will find this love book (or say, novella) to be a respite from the mockery laden and self-proclaimed happy world.

I enjoyed the book thoroughly as it took me back to the memory lane many times when I was struggling within myself with identity crisis after my marriage and finally I decided to restart blogging as an attempt to find myself ONCE AGAIN.

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