The Perfect Groom is a short and simple story set in a Tamil household and the situations described in it are daily happenings in most of the middle-class households in most parts of India. It’s the story of the various struggles of women in various roles, that of a wife, a daughter, a sister, a childhood friend etc., and their sacrifices just to keep their family happy and appease the ‘charitable’ relatives.
Nithya, her mother and her small sister live with her uncle and aunt since her father passed away leaving behind nothing for them. Her uncle and aunt were cunning, selfish and cruel to the three but always maintained that they were a family in front of the society and world. The uncle and aunt never did anything for them without desiring a return favor/gift and always ruled over their lives and never allowing them to grow and be independent.
One fine day, they bring a NRI proposal for Nithya and her mother is over the moon with happiness that finally her brother and sister-in-law have had a change of heart. Although Nithya refuses to get married so soon, her mother forces her to get married lest she upset the ‘kind’ uncle and aunt. Of course, there is a catch. What is it? Why are they suddenly so ‘kind’ towards her? Read the novella to find out.
Sumeetha Manikandan has a knack of observation and she has so easily incorporated situations and conversations from real life into the novella that it gnaws at your heart and instantly makes you feel for Nithya. The character of Nithya is a strong one who is optimistic, looking forward to a bright future even when her present is nothing short of hell, she adjusts to her surroundings without complaining and is willing to undergo the torture for a few more years just so that her sister doesn’t face any problems in getting a match. A divorcee in the family is not only a bad name, but it also becomes difficult for the siblings to get matches even today in most parts of India.
Sometimes you hate Nithya and some other characters like her mother and sister for being quiet for so long and being martyrs instead of fighting back. But then, given the story, you do understand that they had no other option but bear everything that their uncle and aunt made them to bear.
Her childhood friend Vasu who happens to meet her accidentally in US and then their encounters that follow are the only parts that are really feel good and make you smile. But once their relationship goes to the next level, he acts like a big a**hole which seemed unreal and so uncharacteristic of him.
Nithya’s uncle-aunt and her MIL-DIL are the real antagonists of the novella and they try everything that they can to make her life difficult but she bears everything silently.
Nithya’s husband is another abusive rascal who abuses her and his own parents for no reason.
The only good person in her life in US is a restaurant owner who becomes her employer and also a good friend.
The Perfect Groom is a read that will leave you sad for most part but make you feel good with the perfect happy ending.
Connect with the author here : Sumeetha Manikandan
The novella is published by Toronto-based publishing house Indireads, which exclusively publishes e-books and was started with the aim to revolutionizing the popular fiction genre in South Asia.