It took me approximatley two years before I picked this 1500 pages long and snugly printed paperback from my shelf. But I can safely say that each word of it has been a pleasure, an inebriated drink on life and journeys.
A Suitable Boy by Vikram Seth, at an outset is a long enchanting saga of finding a suitable boy for Lata. The core is the love story, however there is so much more to it that few words cannot simply justify the feelings that you go through reading this.
I have cried along Lata, laughed at Maan, prided at Harish, boasted with Kabir, and ridiculed Amit’s poetry along with the poet himself, flirted along Mennakshi, scolded like Arun, felt like a fool when Varun feels so, rhymed along Kakoli and laboured wirh Savita, almost died of exahustion like Pran and so, so much more. Mrs. Rupa Mehra is just another Indian mom, the replica is relevant even today when she fusses over her son, pampers her granddaughter, desperately wants a grandson and for her own daughter to get married off well. Her emotional blackmails, trauma, exaggeration, overflow of tears, love for sweets, nothing goes in waste and by the end of the novel she does find a suitable one for Lata.
Although, I, in no way like or find that boy suitable. As a matter of fact I did not find any of the courter’s suitable, but still I did not like the end. Honestly, I just hated it. 1500 pages long, a quest to find a man for marriage and all ends so soon. A decision made, executed and the curtain falls down with no justification on the part of Lata or the Boy. If it is about love, then love in the books holds no important position in my perspective. I loved the book, there is no doubt in that, however, I wasn’t satisfied with it. I mean how did it just end? To be clear, I will tell you that this is not just a book tantrum that I am throwing, but I genuinely feel wrong about this. The plot has so many not-so-siuitable ones, but of all I really don’t like how this ends. Now, as I keep saying this again and again, this does sound like a tantrum to me too. But all I am trying to say is that the marriage that takes place in the end, feels more like the conventional compromise that involve Indian marriages even today. The family that I have known in Seth’s novel didn’t seem like it to me, I felt that they were those modern ones, living in Brahmpur in the intial days of independence, travelling in and around Kolkata, Cawnpore, Delhi, speaking English, studying for degrees, going out to parties and what not. But still, Lata being married to X (no spoilers here) just doesn’t feel right, nor was it in any way justified.
As I was reading this book, over the months my mom kept asking me, ”Suitable boy mila kya?” (Did you find the suitable boy?) So as I shut the book, turned the last leaf, I still had to say, ‘No, I don’t think so!’ If the authors second book does have further justification then so be it. Because despite the dissapointment in the last few pages I am certain I will be reading A Suitable Girl. Hopefully, it will end more satisfactorily.
Sorry for the tantrum but I think I will still recommend the book to you. Read it, if for nothing to go through the same disappointment that I went through 😉