Title: The Perfect Groom
Author: Sumeetha Manikandan
The Perfect Groom is a story of struggle of a woman – Nithya in her marriage. The author has packaged the story of the struggling couple in twenty one chapters which seem similar to twenty one folds in a bed-sheet with a beautiful top sheet of Glossory full of south Indian terms used all along the novella. As we read the story the folds unfold to unveil the bitter truth of her married life.
The story starts as we observe Ashok and Nithya busy in cleaning, cleansing, throwing and hiding stuff since morning. Indeed, an apt starting line for the novella, titled – The Perfect Groom. A loving husband helping his wife in home chores but the story was the other way round. Ashok was in a bad mood because his mother was visiting them in US and he was not at all happy with her visit.
This fact might infuse an idea that he thinks her to be a prospective obstacle in their privacy but again, there is a twist. He did not wish to face her because she keeps pestering them about producing a grandchild for her.
Within this hustle bustle she finds her mother’s photograph from her wedding album. Her mother seemed happy to marry her daughter to a boy who was well settled abroad and who belongs to an affluent family, back in India. On looking the photograph, she questions herself – Will she ever know what I am going through here? Will I ever get out of this mess?
What was her grief? What went wrong with her? What (and most important Why) is she hiding from her mother?
She was married to Ashok since past three years and he has never being appreciative about her efforts to make their marriage work. In this grief, Diana – a restaurant owner near her block, is the only solace. Nithya, ever since she got married was being pushed by her pressing relatives for bearing a child. Her mother-in-law never missed a chance to make her feel humiliated for not producing one for her and this time she has made mind to take Nithya along to a Gynae in India who also happens to be her friend.
Nithya’s mother was a widow and they lived on the mercy of her uncle – Chittappa (Chithi). Ashok was her uncle’s friend’s son and this alliance was approved at his mercy which Nithya and her mother could not defy. She knew how hard it was for her mother to live with those pesky uncle and aunt and hence did not want to share her grief with her mother and make her tensed.
Diana, has once enquired Nithya about taking divorce from Ashok and move out of marriage but she was amazed on listening Nithya’s reply. She replied that she is in agreement with Ashok that they both will adjust with each other till their sisters (Divya – Nithya’s younger sister and Anu – Ashok’s younger sister) got married. Such reasons were hard for Diana to understand and digest but she could do nothing for her, except that she offered Nithya to assist her as Assistant Chef in her restaurant, which she accepted gracefully.
One fine day, Nithya receives an email from Divya that one of her friend’s friend, Srinivas was visiting U.S. and Nithya could hand over parcel for Divya to him. Nithya was glad that finally she will now be able to send the items she had bought for her lovely mother and sister. After a couple of days, she receives a call from Srinivas and invites him to her place to hand over the parcel.
Srinivas visits her place along with his friend Raghvan. To her surprise Srinivas was nobody else but Vasu, her old childhood mate with whom she has inseparable memories. He was an orphan and was looked after by Nithya’s uncle only. Her uncle, even wished to marry both but Vasu eloped and never came back.
That day on meeting Vasu once again, her life took a different path that was unattended before. He altogether redefined the definition of ‘The Perfect Groom’ for her.
How things change in her life with the entry of old childhood mate? Does he turn out to be a friend or foe in relation to her already sucking married life? How other relations get influenced with his presence around her? What does she thinks about him, today? How her life changes the meaning as she redefines the definition of a perfect groom with Vasu? These are a few questions that make this novella a worthy read.
The novella is a succinct story written in simple words with a neat and clear plot and a strong storyline. The author has beautifully put forward the perception of an Indian bride. How she side lines herself and her aspirations to make her family happy. But is this a real definition of happiness? Is it necessary that the groom imposed by family is the ONLY perfect groom, a girl could look up to? She raises a question and thereafter provides with an answer as well.
If you are the one who is interested to connecting with the roots of cultural southern India then this is one for you. Recommended.
About the Characters
– Nithya: an older daughter of a widow mother.
– Ashok: Nithya’s husband who is a software engineer and settled in US
– Amruthi: Nithya’s mother and a widow
– Narasimhachari (a.k.a. Chittapa or Chithi): Nithya’s cruel uncle
– Kanakavali: Nithya’s aunt and Chittapa’s gossipy wife
– Divya: Nithya’s younger sister
– Desikachari (a.k.a Desika): Ashok’s father and Chittapa’s friend
– Anu: Ashok’s sister
– Jayshree: Nithya’s cousin and Chittapa’s daughter
– Vasu: an orphan living on mercy of Chittapa after his parents expired in an accident.
– Diana: Nithya’s only friend in US