Diary of a Girl Who Loved Her Arranged Marriage

Meeti Shroff tells what makes an arranged marriage a roller coaster ride for two individuals.

Marriage is a roller-coaster in its own right. Lots of amusing stories in there – if you can find a way to see it that way,  believes author Meeti Shroff Shah, who gave up a lucrative profession in the ad-world to pen the story of her arrange marriage. It is a common and often funny, yet, surprisingly, untold story. It needed to be told, she affirms as she goes on to reveal what spurned her to become a writer. Single people navigating the arranged-marriage landscape often tend to get disheartened – this book is to urge them to hold on to their sense of humour. Excerpts:

Was writing always a part of your plan? How did it first happen?

I’ve been in love with books for as long as I can remember. As a child, I gobbled up Enid Blytons and Nancy Drews with an intensity that alarmed my parents. They’d complain that my nose was always burrowed in books and that I needed to  play with other kids, but I would hide my books under my clothes and read in the bathroom.

How did you chance upon writing this book?

I majored in English Literature at St Xavier’s College in Mumbai where we had these beautiful terrace classrooms. We’d study Fitzgerald, Rushdie and Austen and sip on steaming cups of oversweet Nescafe. I think I knew even then, that any living I wanted to etch for myself, would involve words. I went on to get a Diploma in Mass Communications from XIC, Mumbai and an MA in Literature from the Mumbai University and somewhere along the way, stumbled in to advertising. After marriage, I lived in New York for a couple of years. Here I attended several, fabulous writing workshops. In retrospect, it seems all of this was leading up to the moment – when I quit my job as Associate Creative Director at DDB, Mumbai, to write this book.

So the book was supposed to be christened ‘Darling, there’s someone we’d like you to meet’. What led you to change it to the present title?

The original title of this book was ‘Darling, there’s someone we’d like you to meet’. But at some point, my editor and I realised, we needed a title that you could recommend to a friend without having to say, uh, it’s Darling there’s something something. I‘ve heard the question, ‘Do you know any good boys?’ uttered a hundred times. It is such a quintessentially Indian question. My mum has asked it, all sorts of aunties ask it, and each time, it means only one thing – a bachelor of marriageable age and suitable income!

Meeti Shroff as a copywriter or a story teller? How would you like to see yourself?

All good copywriters are storytellers first. You don’t sell people a product, you sell them an idea or an image of themselves or a way of life to aspire to – and in order to do this well, you tell them a little story. So definitely, Meeti the storyteller.

The cover of the book carries a picture of your husband. So, is it okay to presume that the others featuring on the cover are those whom you saw as part of the arranged marriage regime?

The only person I know on that cover is the one I married.

What was the reaction of your husband on reading the book?

My husband read this book as it was being written. Every time he read a new chapter, I’d watch him from the corner of my eye – for some reason, he had forbidden me to just sit across and stare openly – he was my humour-sensor. If he smirked, it meant that my jokes were working. If he didn’t, he was in trouble. I am only kidding. His feedback was extremely critical in the early stages of the book.

Mention one must-do for all women, who opt for arranged marriage?

I want to tell them that the only thing harder than a first arranged ‘date’ is the second ‘first’ date and then the third ‘first’ date. If they can approach the process with a sense of humour and a little faith, they may find it easier to keep at it till the end.

Good boy bad boy

Biodatas, astrologers, matrimony site and a lot more before you find your Mr Right, as explained by Meeti Shroff Shah

Reach out: bit.ly/25wtp6x

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The New Indian Express
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