Book Review – Matches Made in Heaven by Sundari Venkatraman

 

For someone who loves romances like I do, Sundari’s books are a treat. Having read Meghna and Double Jeopardy last year, I knew it would be a treat to read Matches Made in Heaven. 13 love stories are quite tempting and I couldn’t wait to lap it all up.

Thirteen is not a number that most people would choose willingly. Call me crazy, but I have found the number 13 lucky for me.  I can see that it will be lucky for Sundari too. All thirteen stories are unique, yet so much similar to each other when you can think about the secondary theme that binds them together, the first being love.

The stories fit well in the Indian scenario, the themes ranging from finding love in an arranged marriage to reality shows. While Beauty is But Skin Deep addresses the issue of the Indian obsession over ‘fair’ skin, Rahat Mili talks about the journey of souls through time to find true love.

Chahti Hoon Main Tumhe is the romance between a bollywood diva and an industrialist who try to shade their love from the prying eyes of the paparazzi. Menaka in MadeInHeaven.com comes off as a modern Indian woman who wants to show the world she will not settle for the second best in life and knows what she wants from life.

Shweta was almost sent the way of some other celebrities from India who tried to get a perfect match for them through a swayamwar based reality show. There is also a beautiful story based on the Indian mythology, where a divine being falls in love.

As always Sundari’s language is simple yet clear, she creates ripples in the reader’s mind without her having to look a few words up in the dictionary. All in all, this little book you can devour in one sitting is constituted of 13 little gems, each praiseworthy. If you enjoy reading romances like I do, do not give this book a miss.

About the Book:

A collection of 13 romantic short stories based in India; a culture rich country steeped in tradition. Inspiration struck me from newspaper articles, TV shows and hearing people talk. The short stories are based on that fact that arranged marriages thrive right alongside love matches in India.

1. Groomnapped is Ameya-Surekha’s story as a light romantic take on the serious issue of groom kidnappings.
2. Dark skin on a woman puts off men in general or so says the society. Beauty Is But Skin Deep is Nitin-Simran’s story that proves it wrong!
3. Ritu is twenty-five and wants to wait for her Prince Charming but her parents are desperate to arrange her wedding. Does she find her prince in An Arranged Match?
4. Dating Agencies are doing their best to get young people together to tie the knot. My friend Diti runs an informal one; inspiring the Red Rose Dating Agency.
5. A guy’s complaint about his fiancée of a few years dumping him after becoming successful in her film career felt like a rant to me. Chahti Hoon Tumhe is an ode to the successful actress.
6. Soumya actually lives life like Soul Mates but how many have the guts to? This, incidentally, is the first short story that I ever wrote.
7. Does Madeinheaven.com help bring Menka & Jeetu together with technology driven Matchmaking website?
8. I originally wrote Rahat Mili for an anthology; Rahat means ‘relief’ and is a name too. Read the story with the word in mind and it will fall in place.
9. Reema’s Matchmakers brings Arjun and Prisha together at a get-together through a matchmaking network. But will they get married?
10. Nikita wants Krish for a friend and not her husband. As The Reluctant Bride she manages to have her cake and eat it too.
11. Shweta Ka Swayamvar is inspired by the practice of Swayamwar in ancient India of choosing a husband, from among a list of suitors, by a girl of marriageable age.
12. Pappa’s Girl is about daughters of Industrialists taking over fathers’ businesses.
13. Mythology romances intrigue me; Love Match For Velan is my take on Lord Murugan falling in love with his consort Valli.

About the Author:

Even as a kid, Sundari Venkatraman absolutely loved the ‘lived happily ever after’ syndrome as Sundari grew up reading all the fairy tales she could lay her hands on, Phantom comics, Mandrake comics and the like. It was always about good triumphing over evil and a happy end. Soon, into her teens, she switched her attention from fairy tales to Mills & Boon. While she loved reading both of these, she kept visualising what would have happened if there were similar situations happening in India; to a local hero and heroine.

Her imagination took flight and she always lived in a rosy cocoon of romance over the years. Then came the writing – a true bolt out of the blue! She could never string two sentences together. While her spoken English had always been excellent – thanks to her Grandpa – she could not write to save her life. She was bad at writing essays in both school and college. Later, when it was time to teach her kids, she could manage everything from Science to Mathematics and History & Geography.

When it came to writing compositions, her kids found her of no help at all. All this changed suddenly one fine day in the year 2000. She had just quit her job at a school’s office and did not know what to do with her life. She was saturated with simply reading books. That’s when she got home one evening after her walk and took some sheets of paper and began writing. It was like watching a movie that was running in her head – all those years of visualising Indian heroes and heroines needed an outlet and had to be put into words. That’s how her first novel, The Malhotra Bride, took shape.

(I got this book from the author for an honest review.)

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Writing to me is therapy, it frightens and comforts at the same time. Liberates like nothing else. A book in my own name is a dream, but a bigger dream would be to write something that haunts the reader even after the last page is turned and the book is shut. I enjoy reading and music, spending time with family whilst battling my social awkwardness.

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