Wednesday, July 5, 2017

     Last night I said goodbye to a close friend, Vikram Seth's book A Suitable Boy.  I began reading the 1474 page tome on June 22, 2016, slightly more than a year ago.  During that time, other books have come and gone, books that I loved, liked, or merely tolerated.  But none became a part of me the way that Seth's A Suitable Boy did.  Every night before closing my eyes, I picked up "the book" and was transported to the India of the nineteen fifties, to Brahmpur and Calcutta, to the banks of the Ganga, onto dusty trains, into shaded gardens and crowded alleys.  The last words I saw before sleep were Lata and Maan and Pran and Savita, Mrs. Rupa Mehra and Mahesh Kapoor, Kabir and Amit and Haresh.  They peopled my waking and sleeping dreams.
     Each day, I counted my reading progress in page numbers, willing the characters to move ahead, to bring me closer to the end of the book. I had to know.  Who was a suitable boy for Lata?  But then, when the final page was in sight, I hesitated.  I had been carrying the two and a half pound book around the house with me for a year, but now I put it down.  I didn't want to read that last page.  I didn't want to find out who Lata Mehra had chosen as her husband, her "Suitable Boy." For 1400 pages the suspence had been killing me and now, right at the finish line, my horse balked.  A suitable boy was chosen.
    "No, she can't choose him!" my mind wailed.  Maybe something terrible will happen, I thought in desperation.  Maybe the wedding will be called off.  Maybe no one is suitable for Lata Mehra...but I won't spoil the book or its ending.   You'll just have to read A Suitable Boy and find out for yourself if Lata's choice was suitable!