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My Best Friend’s Son’s Wedding: Heartwarming, Humourous And With Many Plot Twists
Title: My Best Friend’s Son’s Wedding
Author: Zarreen Khan
Publisher: Harper Collins India
Published: 18 September 2020
Page count: 253
Price: INR 299
Available at www.amazon.in
After her second book “Koi Good News?” which was a satire on society’s intrusion on a couple’s pregnancy, author Zarreen Khan enthrals us once again with another humourous story - “My Best Friend’s Son’s Wedding”. This is an endearing story about love, friendship, family ties, and serendipity, with a hilarious narrative (occasionally the “laughing out loud” kind).
Minty Sood, the protagonist of this story, is a forty-two year old socialite from an illustrious South Delhi family, and is a single mother to a twenty-two year old boy. Often seen with the capital’s crème-de-la crème, Minty with her age-defying beauty, and charming personality has been wooed by some of the most eligible bachelors, yet she promptly writes them off.
But Puneet Bhalla, who runs a shipping business in London, manages to sweep her off her feet, and she accepts his marriage proposal. The two had been running a shelter home together, and their romance was just brewing.
Before she could break this news to her son Parth, the young boy announces his decision to marry his girlfriend Pooja Thukral, in a few months’ time. This triggers a whirlpool of emotions in Minty, though she regains her calm soon, knowing that she can always trust Parth’s decisions, including his choice to shun the family’s hospitality business, to take up a job in Mumbai instead.
What follows is a comical drama with relatable characters, involving high emotions, fragile egos, and nervous adults, as the families meet, and prepare for the supposedly low-key destination wedding. Zarreen lays out this perfectly paced story in simple, no-frill words, and a bit of Hinglish. The hullabaloo around a friend’s bachelorette party, and a Punjabi family wedding are captured to a T.
Murphy’s Law that if something can go wrong, it will, perfectly describes the situation in which Minty often finds herself. Her only saving grace is her childhood friend Kriti Vasani, with whose help she wiggles out of difficult situations, well almost always! But now with two weddings in the family, Minty finds herself torn between her responsibilities towards her son, and a love-struck Bhalla.
While the humour seems to go overboard occasionally, it does not disrupt the storyline in any way. Zarreen manages to keep the story moving, and the reader engaged through many twists in the plot. One of the mysteries that stays till the very end, is the identity of Miss Muffet, a gossip-column writer who splashes every detail of Minty’s clandestine romance across a tabloid.
This is a constant worry for Minty, as she fears being judged by the Thukrals, who have already expressed their concerns of having a son-in-law from a high-society family. While tiptoeing through this minefield, Minty also carries the guilt of a past romantic relationship on her slender shoulders.
I liked the way in which the story unfurls, seamlessly moving between the past and the present. Zarreen has invested ample scenes to bring out the strength of each character, and the ties that they share, especially the strong bond that Minty shares with Parth, and also with Kriti. Kriti’s husband is a well-carved out character in this story, and by all means the most adorable. I would have liked the story to flesh out some more of Pooja’s character, as there is not much that we learn about this bride-to-be.
I had one reservation with the story, which I felt did not blend well with Minty’s character. When Parth mentions that Pooja is three years older to him, Minty lets out a squeak, and asks him to reconsider his marriage decision. This comes as a surprise as she is otherwise portrayed to be a woman with liberal beliefs, and her fiancé may also be younger to her.
Overall, Zarreen handles the subject of remarriage aptly, where a single mother falls in love and decides what is best for herself, rather than giving in to any societal or family pressures. I see it as a celebration of the free spirit of today’s woman, except that realistically speaking this may still be an upper-class privilege.
Like Zarreen’s previous two books, this one too is unputdownable, and has emotions that tug to your heart in more ways than one. It is an entertaining read for the weekend, and appeals to readers of all ages (I am keen to know the cast of the upcoming web series to be based on this book).
-- Jacquiline Roberts Singh
(Singh is an independent writer based in New Delhi)