The Land of Contradictions – The New Indian Express
Tina Das is responsible for finding content and producing documentaries about India for a New York-based streaming network. So far all of his trips to India have consisted of luxury hotels, chauffeured cars, and parties with the best in town at all the top bars and clubs. It makes her feel like she could be anywhere in the world, which is why she longs to see the “real” India.
When she has the opportunity to visit Delhi for her cousin’s wedding, she is greeted by a colorful group of characters, “fairy lights, huge balls of marigold flowers, candles” and Bollywood dances by many. real celebrities. During the journey filled with elaborate wedding festivities, she decides to hook up with an unlikely acquaintance, a Mumbai-based fitness trainer, whom she had previously auditioned for on a reality show. Through him, she hopes to get a glimpse of India’s filth and poverty – her worldview of an India she knows little about.
After having a diamond earring stolen by a man in a wheelchair in search of drugs as well as an unpleasant food poisoning incident, Tina, however, fails in her noble quest. Plus, she realizes that contemporary India is very different from the one her parents left decades ago to pursue the American dream. There is so much more to the country now than what films such as Slumdog Millionaire – The Ugly Belly of the Country – with its “poor, smiling children as metaphors” are projecting.
Instead, she decides to do a reality TV show about another Indian cliché that the West loves more than any other – which is behind the planning of lavish and over-the-top Indian weddings – with their “wedding parties. farmhouse, seven-star hotels, yachts off the coast of Mumbai glistening in the Arabian Sea, private jets to Umaid Bhavan and bachelorette parties in the Maldives. But also on conservative aunts and uncles, love versus arranged marriages, code words for sex, brides secretly smoking cigarettes with mehendi up to their elbows and taking sips of whiskey from the groom’s flask before entering with downcast eyes on the floor with modesty. ”In short, a country of contrasts, filled with“ madness, contradictions, beauty and chaos ”.
Best-selling author Diksha Basu clearly wrote this book for an international readership. For someone who has lived in India, the sight of people sleeping on the sidewalks is not uncommon. In addition, the West also has its share of poverty and homelessness. Plus, some of the ideas of cultural identity that she reiterates in the book are truisms that are all too familiar, like the eternal conflict of being raised as a brunette girl in America in the ‘pre-Priyanka Chopra years. “-” act in America and Indian in India, but feel like neither one nor the other “.
Like his first novel The Windfall (2017), in Destination Wedding too, Basu revisits another of his other favorite themes, that of the second chance in love, especially for the elderly. The book even contains some of the characters from the previous novel – the unconventional Ms. Ray (who now runs a matchmaking agency for widows) and her husband, Upen Chopra.