In 2009 I had reviewed a book “The Marriage bureau for the rich people”, if you revisit the review you will see that I had loved the book for its simpIn 2009 I had reviewed a book “The Marriage bureau for the rich people”, if you revisit the review you will see that I had loved the book for its simplicity & the way the author had described the small town demeanor. There was something about the book that had reminded me of my childhood summers.
Last year while I was browsing through internet I realised that the author has come up with a sequel of the book and needless to say I was excited to find it for two reasons
a- I had loved the 1st book b- The 1st book had indeed ended on a note where there were many stories screaming to be told so I knew that the premise of thee sequel would be good.
The 2nd book, “The Many Conditions of Love” continues from where The Marriage bureau for the rich people had left. Mr. Ali’s marriage bureau is thriving and so is his relationship with his wife & assistant Aruna. In the current book there are 3-4 parallel stories running which connect at some point or the other.
Aruna is now happily married to Ramanujam but her happiness is short-lived because her problems begin when her Sister in Law comes to stay with them for her delivery. The latter never leaves an opportunity to bring to the fore the poor background of Aruna’s family. Will Aruna give away to the pressure & return home or will she manage to make a place at her in-laws place?
Mr. Ali’s reclusive son is now back in Vizag & in love with a modern fiery journalist Usha. Their contrasting personalities & religion not withstanding they fall for each other hard. But Life can not be simple & straightforward & thus they face an obstacle in the name of religion. Will their love survive the odds?
Pari, a young widow & Rehman’s cousin; post her mourning period is trying to make a life for herself & trying to be independent. Now this was one track that I liked the most (besides Aruna’s track) because of the grit of the girl to be independent. Besides that there is a hint of something brewing between Rehman & Pari but nothing really happens leaving the readers gasping for more in this relationship.
Then there is Vasu the orphaned grandson of a farmer known to Rehman. Young Vasu comes to stay with Mrs. & Mr. Ali giving them & Pari a purpose in life.
The book is a page turner in a true sense. The multiple tracks keep you glued to the book. Like his previous book the author Farhad Zama scores brownie points on the description of the lifestyle of a small city. Despite the urgency & the drama in the relationships there is laziness lurking around in the book all thanks to the setting. This book talks at length about different relationships & the disparities in them. On the one hand there is the talk of inter-religion relationship & on the other hand there is a rich poor relationship discussed at length. What remains at the core is the fighting spirit in people to survive all odds.
However does that mean I loved the book?
For me The Many Conditions of Love was just another book talking about relationships. The stories told here have nothing novel about them, I am sure we have read similar stories somewhere. What made The Marriage Bureau for Rich People stand out was the fact that the author was serving us something new, it was a simple story rich in culture. The sequel lacks that magic, the small town setting is well described & lends authenticity but in totality the book falls short of the previous one because it offers nothing new. In fact the book is full of inherent sadness which sometimes makes it depressing. Even the ending is open ended which I have always hated (if you know me then you already know this) because I want closure. But then the open ending leaves a scope for another sequel.
If that is the case then I hope that the author thinks hard before offering us just another book because I feel that he has different stories to tell us and that too differently :-)
My Rating: 3 on 5 for writing & setting but 2.5 to the story...more