A Book Review of Sundari Venkatraman’s Matches Made In Heaven

A Book Review of Sundari Venkatraman’s Matches Made In Heaven        


Life is not about one big thing..but an assortment of petite and endearing moments, these moments are found ubiquitously, sometimes in our childhood or during our heydays…Venkatraman’s new short story omnibus is a collection of such moments of love, which is going to make you feel good about yourself..and more importantly about a feeling known as LOVE.
There are almost a dozen and one stories in Matches Made In Heaven….all of them are guided by passion and affectionate lovebondings .
Now let us deal with each of them in the most unchronological way…let me begin with the very last story entitled “Love Match For Velan”
The story speaks about a mythological hero,his exploits and his romance with a fairytale styled mythical Princess…gently simple yet so delightful,our Gods in their human avatar..romancing their ladylove with an universal appeal,the first section where Venkatraman describes about the plunge in the lake is a dreamy one,a challenge for any cinematographer to capture it(it can be adapted on screen)and as usual a delight for the readers.
P:S-This mythical hero(read God) in Bengal..is a bachelor,but down South he is a married man..i love the diversity…long live Murugan.
The first story known as Groomnapped…appears to be a weakling among all,what i missed was Venkatraman’s swift storytelling,instead it was bit dull..but again it is relevant in the context of love,as no social evil..like Dowry..can take away true love from the lover and the beloved…..
The second story Beauty Is But Skin Deep is one of the most well composed story from the social point of view,the concept of colour prejudice which exist in our daily life has been beautifully sketched.. Venkatraman at its best,she is a social writer..and the beauty is..she does not give GYAAN about the social prejudices…but make the readers realize about them.Nitin the hero,he is a darling..
An Arranged Match is a fast paced story,where all the impossible things becomes possible all due to co-incidence…a predictable one but laced with right dose of testosterone and estrogen laced physical fury and Rajasthani royal tarka.The heroes are always sexy…so is Yash.
Red Rose Dating Agency is highly enjoyable,the structure and the setting seemed very up to date with the Gen Y…the young readers will have a gala time while going through this one..Ritika and Sahil..are they going to date each other?…if yes..then how?Check it out.
Chahti Hoon Tumhe,the name is a straight indicator of Hindi Potboiler,however it is a finely woven story of an actress Jahnavi and Rehan,the rich work hard and party harder type Electronic business man.I really enjoyed the setting of race-course,quiet unusual for a blooming stage of romance.You  will find nuances of paparazzi,starry tantrums,free booze,a jealous fiancée…to be brief..a complete package.Welcome to the world of Mumbai Film Indsutry.
In Soulmates,Sundari Venkatraman puruses a love affair set in South India.They are Brahmins.But one of them worship Shiva,while the other one worship Vishnu..and that is the apple of discord,their families won’t allow them to get married.So much of dichotomy in one religion and Venkatraman nailed it this time again.Generally i don’t quote the authors..but these lines are too tempting…so i am quoting her
“How can you be so calm Mama?” She was astounded to see the serene expression on Soumya’s face. The old lady pulled her daughter-in-law onto the bed beside her and stroked her back calmingly. “We are going global, aren’t we?  You allow Chinese noodles and Italian pizzas into your kitchen. You grow and adapt your palate to different cuisines. You dress differently and use imported lipsticks and perfumes. You listen to rock music and you dance western style. These are but physical expressions of globalisation. The true spirit of globalisation is Universal love. Love doesn’t recognise religion or the colour of skin. Look for the soul within, my dear child and you will identify this for yourself.”   

Made In Heaven..well the book borrows it name(almost) from this short story,you got to go through it,whether the matches are truly made in heaven or not?So the parents are looking for a groom for their twenty four year old daughter..and you have a protagonist whom the author has described like this
“He was a handsome specimen of manhood who would impress the most difficult of mammas.”
                              And this little tinge of humor..is a sureshot winner among the readers.Both Menka and Jeetu compliment each other,Menka is a free willed modern girl,who wants to have her life in her way,but the tradition and family reservation does not allow her to pursue her destiny..Do check out the three conditions laid down by her.
In RahatMili,the book takes us to NewYork and we are introduced to the super bubbly heroine Rahat.Venkataraman looses no time in bringing the male protagonist Sid to the forefront.There is a liitle clash,one is from India and another from Pakistan,look out what happens next..and try to figure out who is Meenu …
Reema Matchmakers,quiet an unconventional name,I am not going to divulge any detail about it,as you might miss the fun,but i would like to give you an hint about the spirit of the story…
“Will you marry me and make me the happiest man on this earth?”
I think this is the sweetest line ever in a proposal…Lovely is the only word I have.
The next one offered by Sundari Venkatraman is known as The Reluctant Bride, this one scores solely because of the characterization.Nicely crafted and finely executed,Niki is a bride to die for..do check out why she is so reluctant..?..my favourite part..ah when she bluntly refuses her man’s marriage proposal.
The first time i came across the title Shewta ka Swayambar,i thought of some reality show…but believe me..this story is completely different.Venkatraman knows the pulse of her audience,she knows what to offer…and she entertains them..thats why she is a successful one.The concept of Swayambar is truly fresh..only that it was practised in India since the days of Maharajas…but now it is facing extinction.A beautiful event where the bride was allowed to choose their prospective groom.I am not divulging any more niceties about that,you need to find out.What i liked,the background details of a reality show has been captured along with the romantic inclinations of Shewta in a very fair way.
Papa’s Girl,the second last story of the anthology is a story of intrigue and……..I am sure reader’s gonna enjoy this one,it is a delight for the schemers and a joy for the lovers..but in the end a pleasure for the readers group.So you have a romance couple consisting of Aisha and Shyam…and there is another person..the Papa….it tickles you….check out the following line
“What kind of reaction is that when a man is kissing you so passionately?
Well thats all I have to say,I enjoyed the richly coloured Book Cover(i love all the book covers of Sundari Venkatraman),smart editing and a well packaged omnibus of love stories…way to go…Perfect for weekends..on a beach..on a couch..on the lounge…Get it…available at a store near you.
                                                                Debraj Moulick

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