Saturday, August 11, 2012

Delightful, honest, heartwarming

These are the adjectives that come to mind when I think of Yashodhara Lal's book, Just Married, Please Excuse.  Anyone who has read her blog Y On Earth Not will know that Yashodhara's accounts of self and family make you laugh out loud. I wonder, sometimes, whether it's the inhabitants of her world who are so hilarious, or her unerringly accurate view of them. Probably both, I guess.

                Just Married, Please Excuse is one of those books that can be read several times over, for the narration, the deceptive simplicity of the language, the amazingly funny imagery (a bridegroom looking like a tube of Colgate toothpaste immediately comes to mind), and the endearing quirkiness of the characters. Yashodhara does not spare herself at all, either, whether it be her predisposition to 'tamper tentrums' or her much verbalised yearning to be herself at all times. Vijay, her husband, is responsible for much of the hilarity in the book, although he ultimately proves himself to be a hero, albeit an unlikely one. The trials and tribulations of a newly wed couple from very different backgrounds can easily be identified with. Even couples with similar backgrounds face many of these issues. Throw a not-really-planned pregnancy into the mix, and the enormous life changes that an  infant brings into a young couple's life, and  much drama ensues. I sincerely wish that I'd had a book like this to read when I was newly married, several decades ago- it makes you feel that you are not alone, fairly clueless in the uncharted, often rocky seas of marriage and motherhood. There are several deliciously quirky characters apart from the couple themselves, affectionately and accurately portrayed. There is absolutely no malice in Yashodhara's writing, but she is keenly observant, and portrays each major and minor character in convincing detail. Her mother's penchant for always being right, her friend Vivi's utter cluelessness about elementary Geography, the hilarious interaction between her Mumbai helper Zarreena and the baby's maid Kajal, who comes with her from Delhi, their driver Vinod, the love and respect with which her parents-in-law interact with each other and with all around them, Vijay's previous attempts at romance, our clueless protagonists going to buy land, Vijay's Florence Nightingale tendencies....... all these provide a great deal of background detail, enriching the tapestry of Yashodhara's and Vijay's life together. The occasional dialogues in Hindi add flavour to the book, as does the ubiquitous alu gobi! Love alone is not enough for a happy marriage- it needs to be accompanied by trust and wisdom, a lesson which is ultimately learned by our hapless protagonists.      

                   I am eagerly awaiting Yashodhara's next book. In the meantime, Just Married, Please Excuse is great to re-read right through, or to just flip through, again and again.



Banno said...

Completely agree, Dipali. Finished the book in one go, day before yesterday. :)

dipali said...

@Banno: Been through it twice in the week since I got it, plus innmerable dips into it for a random giggle! It's so much fun!

My Best Friend is a Book said...

will have to get this one soon !

yasmeen sait said...

Just picked it up at the airport. Sounds like a fun book.