Craving colour and light?

January 11, 2010 | Kathryn

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Marriagebureau This is bibliotherapy for the winter blues.  Just looking at the vibrant cover should cheer you up. 

The Marriage Bureau for Rich People is a charming book full of light, colour and warmth set in India in the coastal city of Vizag where the climate is tropical and wind chill factors are unknown.  As the book opens, Mr Ali is in his garden early on a crisp winter morning rubbing his hands together to warm them, the temperature has fallen below twenty degrees!

Mr Ali is a retired civil servant with time on his hands or, in other words, he is hanging around the house too much and annoying his wife.  He sets up his own small business, a marriage bureau.  He isn't a match maker.  He just finds candidates that meet a long list of criteria including not only religion and caste but also height and profession and then the parents (or occasionally the prospective bride or groom) do the investigating.

An entertaining cast of characters is soon using his services and finding happiness and he is so busy that he needs an assistant.  Mrs Ali, who is really the brains of the family, finds him a very good one simply by standing by her own front gate early in the morning and watching the passers by.

For those who like weddings (and who doesn't?) there are two magnificent ones.  One is an arranged marriage and one is a love match and along the way you learn a lot about life and relationships, both good and bad, in modern India.

The book is also available in large print.