Dollar Bahu

Rating: 4/5

Title: Dollar Bahu
Author: Sudha Murthy
Genre: Fiction
Pages: 142
Publisher: Penguin India
ISBN-13: 9780143103769

I had always wanted to read Sudha Murthy’s books but whenever I walk into a book store the aura of a glamorous looking mystery/detective novel always gets the better of me (even today!). But a deliberate attempt to grab this copy had me enjoying a pleasant ride from India to America and now I can’t stop raving about it!

Dollar Bahu begins with Chandru, an engineer, leaving Bangalore- his hometown- for Dharwad where he is sent on official duty. He stays as a paying guest and falls in love with Vinuta, the niece of his landlord. When he is sent to America on deputation, he reluctantly leaves Dharwad unsure if Vinuta has the same feelings for him. But going to America was a priority for Chandru as he and his mother, Gowramma, always wanted to visit the “Dollar” country.  Gowramma is thrilled and is rather pompous as his son will now earn in dollars. While he is away in America, Chandru’s younger brother, Girish, meets Vinuta in Bangalore and both end up getting married. Gowramma’s frantic search for her elder ‘bahu’ finally ends when she finds Jamuna who hails from an affluent family. The wedding is a full blown affair. But it is after this wedding that Vinuta is slowly sidelined by her mom-in-law. She is ignored and belittled and even when she is pregnant, is not shown any kindness by Gowramma. A few years and a grandson later, Gowramma is invited to America by Chandru as his wife is now expecting a child. Gowramma’s happiness knows no bound as she sets off alone to her dreamland not realizing that all Jamuna needs is a baby sitter. Initially everything seems rosy and lovely but she slowly realizes the acts of her cunning daughter- in- law and how she was deceived by her false affection.  As she meets different people in the US she is horrified by their tales and also by the huge cultural shock. Having learned the hard way, Gowramma returns back to India realizing the truth behind the glossy dollar and repenting for her unruly behavior with Vinuta.

I loved this book. I guess we can all relate to the typical Indian mentality towards the US in Gowramma and also sympathize with her when the facade of her dear”Dollar Bahu” collapses. The book also illustrates many characters benefiting from the dollars earned but it all seems to come with a price tag. But at the end, it leaves a smile on your face.

Beautifully penned by Sudha Murthy, this book is definitely recommended. Originally written in Kannada, this book is now available in all major Indian languages. It is a nice, breezy read. Looking out for another book -”Mahashweta” by the author. 

That is, if I succeed in getting past the ‘Mystery/Suspense’ racks of the book store!! ;-) 


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