Author aims to show a "happy" India in debut novel

Tue Jul 21, 2009 10:43pm EDT
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By Miral Fahmy

SINGAPORE (Reuters Life!) - The rigid caste system, arranged marriages and gender gap that still exist in modern India usually don't make light reading, except, perhaps, in Indian-born author Farahad Zama's debut novel.

Zama's recently published book, "The Marriage Bureau For Rich People," is a social satire couched in humor and romance, which shows that love and respect are the basis of a successful marriage, no matter how incompatible the couple appear on paper.

Arranged marriages, poverty and the rigid class system are something Zama has experienced first-hand: born in 1966 in Vizag, eastern India, he grew up in a one-room home in a slum where his family did not have money to spare on books, but insisted their children get a good education.

After graduation, he worked for Citibank in Mumbai, moving to London in 1990 after an arranged marriage to a woman from his hometown. Zama is still an investment banker, has been married for 18 years now and has two sons.

Zama recently spoke to Reuters about why he chose to write yet another book about India:

Q: What inspired you to write a book about marriage?

A: "One day, I sat in front of the computer and the title just came to me and that's how the book started. I come from a large family with lots of arranged marriages, and I knew I wanted to write about India, it's a fascinating subject that I know well."

Q: But there are so many books about India. What sets yours apart, in your opinion?   Continued...