Every country has its own culture, derived from its own traditions. However, it gets affected by changing environment & influence of other cultures. This book is a collection of eleven stories, mostly regarding the system of arranged marriages, generally prevalent in India. In the first story Bats; the husband behaves badly with his wife. She visits the house of grandpa, where bats are killed in the orchard. The husband sends a message that bad things will not be repeated. She returns back, but things are no better. In Clothes; a village girl Sunita is married to Somesh, who works in 7/11 shop. During the night shift he is shot dead. Now Sunita has to wear only white saris. In Silver Pavements Golden roofs; Jayanti having come to USA for study, stays with her uncle & auntie. While returning from a walk Jayanti & her Auntie are attacked. Later her uncle beats his wife. Jayanti wonders about their arranged marriage, & also dreams about her marriage in this land. In The Word Love; one couple who had arranged marriage have a daughter, her father dies, but her mother does not remarry for the sake of her daughter. Later, the girl starts living-in with Rex, son of divorced parents. The mother disowns her daughter. Since the things are not OK, the girl decides to leave Rex, for her own life. In Perfect Life; Meera & Richard are living in. One day they find, a seven-year-old boy, outside their apartment. She likes him, & tries for his adoption. He is given for a week, but he runs away & can’t be traced. Meera tells her mother about Richard, but she clears him. They patch up, but decide not to have children. In The Maidservant’s story; Manisha’s parents had arranged marriage. Later her father & brother die, leaving Manisha in care of her Deepa mausi. She meets Bijoy in California, but they want live-in first. In the story within this story, one expectant wife wanting help at delivery time employs one maid Sarla, but the husband has evil designs on her in the night. Sarla’s family & friends create scene, police comes, Sarla leaves, wife returns from the hospital with a boy. One day she recognises one lady as Sarla, & wants to stop her car. She burns saffron sari (which is worn at marriage time), locks herself in a room. Later things normalise.
In Disappearance; one couple had arranged marriage, girl disappears, police informed but not found. After one year, one day the husband finds his jewellery box empty, & next day his bank locker empty. He starts drinking, remarries, wife dies, daughter gets married, son is not on speaking terms & he lands into Senior’s home. In Doors; Preeti & Deepak marry. Deepak’s friend Raj comes to stay for 1-½ years. He is an informal person & walks in anywhere. Preeti tells him to get out.
Deepak asks Raj to shift to Motel, allots whole house to Preeti, & shifts to guesthouse. In Ultra sound; Arundhati is married in Burdwan, & Anjali in San Jose (with Sunil). Both are pregnant. Arundhati’s mother-in-law wants abortion due to girl child, but she does not want. Anjali advises her to go to her mother’s house. She wants to sponsor her to USA. In Affair; Meena & Shrikant and Abha & Ashok are married. Meena & Abha are friends. Shrikant is busy with Computer work. At a party Meena wears backless Choli. Ashok & Meena dance closely. Abha doubts an affair. Shrikant visits Abha & tells Meena is having an affair, & they are taking divorce. Abha visits Meena & finds that, Charles her office friend & not Ashok, is her lover. She feels sorry. In Meeting Mrinal; Dinesh in SFO, is son of Asha, divorced by Mahesh, who marries his PA Jessica. Asha gets phone from Mrinal from UK about her coming to SFO. Asha meets Mrinal in a restaurant in SFO, but does not tell about divorce. Mrinal tells Asha that she is lucky, since she herself is 38 years, busy in work & unmarried. Asha returns to the car garage, & keeps sitting to inhale fumes. Her son saves her.
These stories mostly present the Indian women, facing the difficulties in a totally new environment in USA, adjusting, accommodating, and balancing their old beliefs & new desires. Most of the characters have come from Bengal, & live in California. The women have their emotional ties, to their parents & their families. The conflicts arise due to reasons like, bi-culture, husband, boy friend, live-in with boy friend, sister, maid, child, forced abortion, relatives, abandoning, abuse, etc. There are no good endings in any of these stories, & we can learn from each of them. Success in any marriage whether arranged or otherwise, depends on the two persons, their families, & the adjustment & sacrifice they are willing to make for each other. Each story is complete in it, irresistible to read, has a natural flow & leaves a deep impression on the mind. This abstract writer completed reading of the entire book in one sitting. It is considered an entertaining reading for any one interested in the social issues, connected with marriages.