Rating: 3.5/5

Buy Chennaivaasi: Book

Title: Chennaivaasi
Author: T.S. Tirumurti
Genre: Fiction, Romance
Pages: 270
Publisher: Harper Collins Publishers
ISBN-13: 9789350291016

Chennaivaasi is a book by the author T.S.Tirumurti. I read the summary and since it mentioned a TamBram boy, I thought I should give it a go (TamBram meaning a Tamil Brahmin). Being one myself, I found the story and its instances empathizing and closer to home.

The story is about Ravi, a TamBram boy from Chennai and Deborah, a Jewish girl from America who fall in love and want to to get married with the parent's blessings. While Deborah's parents agree Ravi's father, on the other hand, is enraged. The tradition-bound and adamant man that he is, Appa (as Ravi calls him) is unmoved by the countless pleads and reasoning by his son and shuns him out of his home and life. Nevertheless, Ravi and Deborah take up jobs and shift base to Chennai hoping to resolve the matter. Subsequently as Ravi's mother comes around and is just settling to the idea of an American future daughter-in-law, there is a glimmer of hope. But her sudden death causes a drift among the members of the family and the issues only get worse. Appa leaves his house due to internal disputes and comes to stay with Ravi having no other choice. Whether he accepts Deborah into the family and sorts out his estranged relationship with his son, shapes the rest of the story.

This is the first time I'm reading T.S.Tirumurti's work. It is quite impressive considering the effort put into the style of writing. It doesn't seem deliberate but quite natural actually. It is not often that one comes across such precise use of words and proper writing. One can feel and live the life of a Tamilian in the story. It is so well explained. Little nuances such as the Navarathri celebrations at home, use of words like 'manni' (meaning bhabhi) and the first batch of coffee decoction being served are fond memories for any TamBram like me. Although not a Chennaivaasi myself, the rules of a Tamil household remain the same all over the planet and I, for one, can vouch for that!

The story does sound a little like 2 States by Chetan Bhagat but it is not. Chennaivaasi is not merely struggling for the parent's approval but also includes individual stories and emotional journeys. The characters are the typical south Indians, likely to be any of our relatives/parents. Well written and very believable. Altogether a good book for a quick read. Recommended for sure.

If you are a Tamilian away from home then grab this book and read it while sipping on your hot filter kaapi. Trust me, it is more fun that way!


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