Saturday, August 7, 2010

Mellow, lasting love

An elegant and charming love story, a recalling of the author’s parents’ marriage

The Pleasure Seekers
Tishani Doshi
Penguin India
320 pages

Tishani Doshi has many talents. Her collection of poems, Countries of the Body, won the 2006 Forward Poetry Prize for debut collections. Earlier this year, she enthralled viewers in London in the dance ballet, Sharira (the body), choreographed by the late Chandralekha, who had trained her. She writes about cricket. And now she has written an elegant novel, The Pleasure Seekers, which is an affectionate recalling of her parents’ marriage.

Doshi’s Welsh mother becomes Siân Jones here, who has escaped her small village for the bright lights of London, where she works at an office. Her Gujarati father, known only as “Babo” in the novel, is at the office, sent by his father for work experience with their business partners, and to study. Love happens, movingly and charmingly, and Siân welcomes Babo to her world. Babo plunges into the new life with relish, eating meat, drinking alcohol and breaking virtually every promise he had made to his doting family when he left Madras for London. His parents get wind of the budding romance and Babo gets the predictable cable, saying his mother is seriously ill. He rushes home only to find his passport taken away. But Babo rebels, breaking the heart of a young Gujarati girl they’ve decided he should marry (and who he liked once upon a time).

He triumphs over a challenge, and Siân adjusts to her new life in India with remarkable grace—the colours and flavours of India easily vanquishing whatever charms Britain offers, including its “meager and ancient” light.

Full review here Mint 

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