Unravelling Anjali: Diary of an Immigrant Bride by Nim Gholkar

1998 Australia. Anjali Jathar is looking forward to life as an immigrant bride following her arranged marriage to ambitious divorcee Ravi. Settling in, she explores not just a new culture but also her new found freedom. But life is less than perfect. Ravi’s constant travel and preoccupation with work leave Anjali feeling increasingly unloved and lonely.
Enter Jake Ellis. Charmed by Anjali’s exoticism, he finds himself gradually falling in love with her. And so begins an emotionally intoxicating roller-coaster ride.

‘Unravelling Anjali’ is a cross cultural tale delving into love, lust and relationships. What happens if a woman meets her soul mate after marriage…and it’s not her husband?

Marriage is one serious business , my mom used to comment every time she started with the monologue on "what Not to do once you are married". An year of being married and living with my in-laws , I can actually appreciate some of the "gyaan" I got from her while growing upI re lived some of it reading this book.

Unravelling Anjali promised to offer me glimpse into two of the scenarios I have often wondered myself - How is it to live with some one whom you do not know , whose habits are so alien to you and secondly , what if you meet your soul mate after wedding. Even when I am happily married to the love of my life , I have often created many hypothesis on the scenario of meeting my husband in a situation where I am married to some one else !

And the book does not disappoint on any front. Wither it is Anjali's life in Sydney as some one who has stepped out of her comfort zone and into a new country for first time or her struggles with making her marriage work , the descriptions and the images are so alive in writing that I did not pause the reading any time myself. For Anjali , It is not just the geographical change that is bothersome but more so the change in ideas and opinions. Suddenly she is surrounded by new people with different ideologies and some where in between all this , her own feelings go through fundamental shift. Some times we learn the differences between right and wrong from others. some times we learn it by living in the grey areas our self. Love , trust , secrets and our personal goals are always different from others. When two people's lives come together under a roof , it is a pull and push game of expectations and understanding each other's needs. It is part of growing up and learning in life and this book gave so many glimpses into that.

Anjali's friendships , her desires and her resolve to make things better and comfortable for everyone around her made me adore her so much. I loved the various shades the writer wrote for all characters , subtler showing that true identities are not type casted but more fluid than it appears to our eyes.

Anjali's interactions with Jake Ellis reminded of the movie English Vinglish. I so understand why Sridevi thanks her friend for making her feel attractive and worthy in her own eyes. Loving yourself and affirming that you mean something to people known to you is a feeling we live and strive for continually.How much it affects Anjali is something i was curious about. To be fair, i would have accepted any of the possible outcome of this affair.

The writing is very clear , detailed and simple . There is a flow to the story and the presentation of emotional scenes is never over the top.

All in all , Unravelling Anjali is a very balanced book , quite warm and fun in equal parts.

My rating : 4/5

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