Name: Do You Know Any Good Boys?
Author: Meeti Shroff-Shah
Publisher: Pan Macmillan
Price: Rs 250
The ordeal of an arranged marriage has been talked about endlessly, so, Meeti Shroff-Shah’s attempt at documenting her experience in Do You Know Any Good Boys? tells us nothing new. In fact, in her first person account of finding a life partner the traditional way, she inadvertently glorifies the means to the end. When her mother is updating her biodata on matrimonial websites, Meeti is, rightfully, appalled, but she goes along with it, meeting and mingling until she finds herself a good husband.
Her irreverent, casual tone does nothing to puncture the righteousness with which these rigours are carried out, and her book becomes a guide to what is appropriate, what can and cannot be said, where to meet and how to behave, adding to the already bloated manual of how to get one’s “ring finger appropriately bedecked”.
The story of the arranged marriage industry is one that has mostly been treated positively. Shroff-Shah might have done Indian women a favour if she’d called out the patriarchy of an agency that decides the shelf life of a woman. Instead, to the disappointment of my non-sanskari soul, she starts with promise and then gives in tamely to the demands of a traditional band-bajaa-baraat.