Monday, 15 February 2016

A Mushy Romance for Light Reading: The Madras Affair by Sundari Venkatraman

The Madras Affair by Sundari Venkatraman is a mushy romance perfect for light reading. It was a quick and simple read, and combined romance with high-drama, full of pointless vituperations. I liked the way the author brought alive the mind of the protagonist Sangita to the reader.
Sangita is a widow with a little son whose mean husband dies in a drunken bike accident. She picks up the pieces and starts living with her parents, but her parents are orthodox about widowhood to the point of malice against Sangita. Gautam meets Sangita at the hospital where she works and instantly falls in love with her. Sangita reciprocates the feeling, but she’s bogged down by her vile parents and her own inhibitions against physical intimacy. The story unfolds how these two obstacles are overcome.

Since the book begins with a happy ending, it was impossible to expect anything else from the story. The ups and downs, the possible problems, were all anticipated by the established behaviours of Sangita’s parents and her own inhibitions after a disastrous marriage.
Gautam’s character did not endear himself to me. His anger at Sangita in the initial days of their relationship was unjustified and demanding. Though he invoked trust and charisma, I couldn’t imagine myself being able to talk to him without him snarling back at me. Slightly self-centred, and unthinking of others’ circumstances. Also, his love for Sangita was an intention to possess, irrespective of how Sangita felt. Sometimes I found myself thinking if the author had moulded Gautam into a typical male character as she was not sure how men react in certain situations. Even a “forward” woman like me found it difficult to accept that Gautam expected physical passion from Sangita within two days of being acquainted. But maybe we can blame his American upbringing for that? However, he improved once he heard the story of Sangita’s first marriage, and turned into a perfectly accommodating person.
Sangita’s character, on the other hand, was very sympathisable. I could totally understand her fears and the situation. Her brother Raghavan and his wife Rekha, the ones who support Sangita and Gautam’s relationship, are also likeable characters. Sandeep, Sandita’s son is a perspicacious child and one feels glad that Sangita has such a good son. Even the small character of Rakesh, Sangita’s second brother, is believable. However, her parents are orthodoxy personified. Which is okay, believable. But the way their approval was obtained for Gautam and Sangita’s marriage was quite unbelievable. I know some such orthodox parents, but I know for sure that they wouldn’t have agreed to the method Gopal and Radha chose. To know what that is, go read the book!
The writing is uncomplicated and the narrative straightforward. There are also erotic descriptions for those who care for it. All in all, a one-time quickie read!

Note: I received this book as part of the Tornado Giveaway by The Book Club.
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