Title: When Dimple Met Rishi
Author: Sandhya Menon
Publisher: Hachette/Simon Pulse
Release date: 30 May 2017
It’s been a while since I read a feel good book with poc leads and When Dimple Met Rishi is the latest. And it’s refreshing. The book centres on Dimple rejecting her mother’s wish for her to get married to chase her dreams and freedom, and there’s Rishi. He’s an obedient and responsible son and observes traditions so he’s fine with the marriage/match arranged by his parents and Dimple’s parents. Only Dimple doesn’t know anything about this, so when Rishi appears out of nowhere, proclaiming that she’s his future wife, she throws her ice coffee at him. But soon things between them blossom.
This is probably the first book that deals with arranged marriages in an ambivalent light and most of the time, I didn’t cringe. Dimple refuses to give in and Rishi learns to accept that. There’s no denying that there’s a bond between them and are right for each other. They’re both complex characters going through inner turmoil – Dimple is in an inner conflict between her future career and this relationship growing between her and Rishi. Rishi wants to do his duties and study engineering, make his parents proud, but he also wants to do comics. They help each other to overcome their flaws and battles.
To be honest, I didn’t expect the book to be so geeky that I geeked so much. There are even scenes where Dimple and Rishi attend a con. There’s also the family aspect that I found relatable. Dimple’s mum reminds me of mine. Both mums want the daughters to wear makeup often and find a guy, and not bring shame to the family – not embarrass them in front of friends or relatives.
Dimple slightly shying away from her culture and just be a modern American teen hits home for me. I was like that as a teen. Rishi being comfortable with his culture is me now. I’m not the right person to say things on Indian rep, but I do like how the book shows that Indian-Americans are diverse and beyond stereotypes – there’s Dimple and Rishi, there’s more to their parents besides being strict and fussy, and there’s Hari totally distancing himself away from his culture and other Indians. He even cringes at Rishi’s love for his heritage and says his name as “Harry”. Sometimes fitting in doesn’t stop after high school, I get it.
Hilarious and emotionally invested that you would lose track of time, When Dimple Met Rishi is the contemporary romance you need to read. Now, I’m craving for an ice coffee. Bye.