Band, baaja and loads of drama

My Brother’s Wedding
Andaleeb Wajid
Rupa
2013, pp 264
295

Weddings in the family are fun, but can drive any sane person crazy. Endless shopping, relentless flow of relatives, unbridled spending, high drama... Unfortunately, 19-year-old Saba finds herself in the middle of one such situation, with her brother Zohaib declaring that he wants to get married at the earliest.

Thus begins the search for that ‘perfect’ girl. And the selection committee has only two members — Saba’s mother, and her pretty but snooty sister Rabia, who seems to find fault with every girl they go to ‘see’. The talk at home is centered only on prospective brides. Saba has had enough. She decides to sound her irritation through an anonymous blog, and thus starts My Brother’s Wedding, where all the characters involved are randomly named Q, Y, X, T and B. The book, that begins thus, soon has the reader engrossed in every little detail about Saba’s life — her joys, her sorrows, her likes, her dislikes...

To be fair to Saba, she has no strong likes and dislikes, but is forced to like and dislike certain people in her life only because of their attitude towards her. If she hates Rabia for her pompous attitude and her contempt for every other being under the Sun, except of course, her parents, she likes her cousin Shahid for his protective attitude towards her, and his hatred for Rabia. Well, this is Saba’s life, in short.

As the story unfolds and more girls are rejected, Saba continues to blog, finding great solace in the anonymity the blogosphere affords her. Surprise of all surprises, the family finally finds the perfect bride for her brother. If this is not surprising enough, Shahid professes his love to her! The blog soon assumes a different colour with Saba using it as a medium for loud thinking on her part.

It is at this juncture that a pregnant Rabia comes to stay with her parents, for good, suspecting her husband to be a jinn. Zohaib, on the other hand, wants to call off the wedding at any cost. Saba’s parents are distraught. And Saba realises her love for Shahid. The story progresses at a frenetic pace, taking the reader along with it on a roller coaster ride. There’s never a dull moment thereon.

Soon enough, the blog remains no longer anonymous. People start associating the events unfolding in Saba’s home to that played out in the blog. What follows is best kept under wraps, atleast for now. 

Andaleeb Wajid’s My Brother’s Wedding is definitely a story we can all easily relate to. Especially the characters that populate the book. They are all very human, complete with their share of follies; people we meet in our lives everyday. While Saba comes through as the girl-next-door, Rabia is a person we would all love to hate, the kind we are wary of, at every step in our lives.

Not to forget Shahid, who is almost like every girl’s dream man.Wajid deserves a pat on the back for her fluid style of writing. Though a simple story, the narrative deftly explores an entire gamut of emotions. It’s a fast read though, an instant page-turner right from the word ‘go’. Who wouldn’t want to know why Zohaib wanted the wedding to be called off, or, if the wedding happened at all? Such is the engrossing story.

However, a keener eye for editing could have avoided the many grammatical errors that crop up once every few pages. In the end, it surely is a book that makes you feel all’s well that ends well.

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