Parekh launches "Brideless in Wembley"
Nehru Centre in London’s West End was packed on September 13 evening
for the launch of Sanjay Suri’s book Brideless in Wembley.
Bhikhu Parekh, launching the book, commended Suri for his keen eye for
detail saying that he could recognise many of the characters as people
whom he knew or characteristics in himself.
found myself saying do we do that?” and then replying “yes we do”
said Lord Parekh. He praised Suri for his ‘compassionate’ look at the
British Indian community, laughing with them from the inside at their
foibles rather than laughing at them.
a senior journalist, who has lived in the UK for the last 16 years regaled
the audience with his attempts to find a wife in a shadi sammelan, a
bridal bazaar in Wembley, the heart of London’s Gujarati community, that
turned out to be only for the Gujarati Lohana community.
story read out by Suri was about a trip with film czar Yash Chopra to the
Midlands. “It just grew out of reporting and I just happened to be
there. There was no conscious effort to make the book humorous, that’s
the way I think,” he said.
Bagdi, Baroness Sreela Flather, businesswoman Surina Narula and other
prominent Indians toasted Suri and hoped that his search for a bride may
come to an end among the throng of fans his book has created.
Guardian carried an interview with the author, and the 600,000 circulation
Sage magazine took over exclusive rights for publishing its excerpts.
Bookseller, a leading trade publication, called it 'an important book',
and Publishing News said the book reveals 'a world of which many of us, on
the outside, are barely aware'.
book, which recounts the author's experiences and encounters with a large
variety of Indian groups across Britain, has also been winning acclaim in
is a book to read at many levels,' said Judith Brown, professor of history
at Oxford University.
first glance it is a sparkling, funny and at times bitter sweet account of
an Indian in London in search of a bride, as he trawls the connections and
social gatherings through which Indians (in this case Gujarati Hindus)
make their matrimonial choices - no longer 'arranged' in the older sense,
but 'managed' by the older generation in various subtle ways.'
added: 'Beneath the obvious story there is a keenly observed account of
life in the successful Indian diaspora in London. It should be read by
anyone who is concerned with understanding something of the social lives
of British Indians at a time when multiculturalism is an ambiguous or
maligned concept, and when many British citizens are increasingly fearful
of the new and complex societies migration has created in our big cities.'
academic Meghnad Desai has called the book 'a funny/sad account of what it
is like to live in a diaspora where you can neither be a native nor a
pucca Brit.' The book, he says, 'tells us a lot about life in Britain not
just for the Asian minority but for the larger community as well'.
Minhas, author of 'The Marriage Market', said the book is 'a real
eye-opener on how Indians have made their mark in Britain'.
400-page collection of non-fiction stories seeks a ground away from the
usual projection of Indians. As Suri puts it, 'the way Indians were being
Indian, someone had to take notes.
keep hearing of Asian millionaires in those Asian rich lists, you see the
same lords, ladies and gentlemen saying the same thing everywhere, to more
or less the same audience of 200 or so. But that is not remotely a picture
of the Indian world in Britain.'
book, which Suri says boasts 'no millionaire or celebrity', is an account
of everyday interactions of ordinary people. He adds: 'But I found these
stories more engaging, more entertaining even, than those Indian cliches
that are served up by way of entertainment. Those cliches should really
have run their course by now.'
in Wembley" is a spirited revelation of the exuberant mosaic of life
in post-immigration Britain, wrote Sandeep Yadav in The Hindu when
the book was launched last year in New Delhi, India.