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All The Ways I Related To When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon

When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon Book Review 2017 CoverIf you guys followed my Youtube Channel, then you know that I wasn’t exactly the most excited for When Dimple Met Rishi. I had read a snippet of the first few chapters earlier, except I skimmed it, and so I didn’t connect at all to the main character, Dimple. Even so, after all the hype this book has been getting since even before it was released, my anticipation grew as well. I finally read it, and while it’s super cute, it isn’t the most amazing thing I read. However, I loved reading a book about Indian American characters. I only recognized five of the Indian references in the entire book – idli, Krrish, Priyanka Chopra, Shah Rukh Khan, and Hrithik Roshan – and I differed from the characters more than I was like them, but I could relate to a lot of the philosophies and mindsets in the book. The problems that Dimple and Rishi dealt with are problems that I have to think about as well in my own life, and it was really cool seeing all of that reflected in not just any book, but a NYT bestseller.

Allow me to list all the ways I related to this book:

• In possibly the very first chapter of the novel, Dimple’s mom yells at her for being lazy, and tells her that no way is she going to find a husband if she’s lazy. My mother says this to me all the time. I am a lazy person by nature, and if that means I can’t get a husband, so be it. Also, I hate the implication that 1) the husband expects the wife to do things that he himself could easily do, and 2) girls always have to be prepped for this mysterious future husband character. I have this conversation with my mother every time – she probably hates me.

• Rishi wants to be the perfect child for his parents. He’s a comic book artist at heart, but he’s pursuing computer engineering in college because that’s what his dad wants for him – he also understands that it’s a more stable job than what he wants to do. This was me. I got great grades in high school and was on the pre-med track in college. In my first few years of university though, I realized that maybe hating every class I was taking was not the norm. I thought long and hard about it, and realized that when my only hobbies are reading, blogging, filming/editing videos, and watching tv, maybe that’s exactly what I should be looking to do as a career. I’m trying out coding and screenwriting classes this fall semester, and if all goes well and we hit it off, I’ll be double majoring in the two. Life is short, but it’s also really long, and I feel okay about taking the risk and doing everything in my power to make it pan out. It was really scary telling everyone that no, I wasn’t going to be a doctor anymore, but I talked it out with my parents and ultimately, we all agree that it’s my life. I just have to make it a successful one or my mom is going to rub it in my face for all eternity.

Now that I’m older, I’m just annoyed with the idea that marriage is a must and not something you do for love.

• Arranged marriage is a huge deal in this book, and it’s kind of similar in my life. When I was younger, I was expected to have an arranged marriage sometime in my mid-twenties. Now, for those of you who think arranged marriage is awful and backwards, it’s really not. Parents just introduce you to a guy – or five – and you are absolutely able to say no if you don’t like that person. I’ve always seen it as either finding a roommate you’re super comfortable with, or finding the love of your life in a cute and romantic way. It’s kind of great because you don’t have to deal with dating, which can be a hassle, especially if you have zero flirting skills (me). Of course, now that I’m older, I’m just annoyed with the idea that marriage is a must and not something you do for love, so unless I or my parents happen upon a guy I actually, genuinely like, I’m totally cool with being a spinster with a huge library.

Now, all that being said, there were some things in the book I just could not make sense of. One of the main ones was Dimple’s mother’s notion of going to college just to meet a suitable boy. I can see this maybe in the past, but I find it really unrealistic in the present. No mother I know expects their daughter to be a housewife or to wear makeup in college. Kids are sent to college so that they can have a career – I see no way around this, and it just bothered me in the book when it said otherwise. I’m hoping Dimple was just misinterpreting her mother wishes, because that’s a bit extreme.

Additionally, Dimple stated in the book that you can’t have both a career and a relationship, and I couldn’t help but think that that was the stupidest thing I’d ever heard. Dimple said that no one she knew had both and my reaction was what world are you living in?? If you’re a surgeon, sure, it’s difficult to balance the job and the family, but it’s still possible. And I mean, if you’re in coding, more often than not, that’s a nine-to-five job, and even if you’re self-employed, you make your own hours. Correct me if I’m wrong, but there is no reason you can’t have a family and a successful job working with a computer science degree.

I really love that there is a book like this out there – it feels so darn nice to have my culture talked about in such a mainstream book.

I related to some parts of this book, and really couldn’t relate to other parts, but it was such a great experience reading about characters around my age who are like me in that they’re stuck between two cultures. At the same time, although Dimple and Rishi’s romance was cute, they hit it off too quickly for my romance tastes, and honestly, they were a bit too perfect together for me to invest in their relationship. I was more interested in their circumstances than their personalities and their love, and Dimple’s career vs. love war seemed a bit immature to me just because I felt like she was trying too hard to go against tradition rather than being happy herself. Rishi was adorable, but the whole kismet thing about his and Dimple’s relationship has me sticking my tongue out because I hate insta-love, which is definitely what he felt for Dimple.

I gave this book three stars (★★★), and although it wasn’t perfect, I really love that there is a book like this out there. I really hope that more authors will write books like this because it feels so darn nice to have my culture talked about in such a mainstream book, and I’m sure others feel the same.

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