For decades they have remained close, sharing recipes and customs, and shaped by ancient ways. They are the Hindi-Bindi Club, a nickname given by their daughters to the mothers who left India to start anew daughters now facing struggles of their own. For Kiran, Preity and Rani, adulthood means balance, from the ways they tweak their mothers' cooking to rejecting their parents' beliefs. But will they have the courage of the Hindi-Bindi Club to hold on to their dreams - or create new ones?
For fans of Meera Syal, Amy Tan and the BAFTA award-winning film East is East Lavishly decorative outdoor 6 sheet advertising will focus on urban areas in cities with large Asian communities A glorious book group choice, complete with recipes, The Hindi-Bindi Club was longlisted for World Book Day's Spread the Word 2008
This absolutely joyful novel is a delight. It's similar in theme to Amy Tan's The Joy Luck Club except in this case it's women from India immigrating to the Unites States. It seems the conflict between mothers and their daughters and the old ways and the new are universal. There are three mothers, Meenal, Saroj and Uma and their respective daughters Kiran, Preity and Rani and each get to tell their stories in alternating chapters. It's slightly chaotic but great fun just like one of Saroj's parties. There are recipes at the end of the mother's stories which sound delicious and I'm attempting one or two today so I'll keep you posted. They have extra cooking tips from the characters which is a very sweet touch.
Meenal, Saroj and Uma come from different parts of India and they all have family there. The reader gets to travel back to Mumbai with Meenal , learn about Partition from Saroj whose family was from Lahore and had to flee to India when Lahore became part of Pakistan. Uma is from an upper middle class family and was so bright she won a scholarship to a University in Boston. Her father refused to let her go overseas and dismissed higher education for women. Without her paternal grandfather's interference she would have remained in India. Uma has an unlucky birth chart. She is a manglik which means she could jeopardise the health of her spouse and very few families are willing to wish ill health, even death upon their sons. Fortunately her American husband Patrick is also a manglik so the bad luck gets cancelled out. It's fascinating to read how such beliefs can determine a woman's fate. The mothers had all ended up in Boston when they first immigrated and have been fast friends ever since. Their daughters have affectionately dubbed them the Hindi-Bindi Club.
The daughters stories are charming as they wrestle with the culture of their parents and their peers but their journeys are internal as Kiran resorts to an arranged marriage so she can start a family, Preity confronts her secret life and Rani her schizophrenia and what that means for her life as an artist. That makes the Hindi-Bindi Club sound a little grim but the novel is so full of life and stories that these issues just add shade to the light. This is one of those novels that ruin the next few books you read as they are not going to measure up to the charm of the Hindi- Bindi Club.
Monica Pradhan's parents emigrated to the United States from Mumbai, India, in the 1960s. She was born in Pittsburgh, grew up in the suburbs of Washington, DC and now lives in Minneapolis and Toronto with her husband.