Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Dollar Bahu by Sudha Murthy - Book Review

For quite sometime now, I desired to read Sudha Murthy's novels in Kannada. But somehow I did not do it. Last week I went to a well known book store "Akshara" in Hyderabad to buy a book as birthday gift for a friend's son and laid my hands on "Dollar Bahu" - an English novel by Sudha Murthy, originally written in Kannada and translated into many Indian Languages. The book is published by Penguin Books, India and priced at Rs. 150/- which I feel is slightly on the expensive side. The novel comprises of 142 pages.

Dollar Bahu is certainly a short and sweet novel. The story is simple and well told, like the author says in the preface - "This story can happen in any part of India but I have set it in Karnataka, the region most familiar to me". As I read the book I could sense the protagonist's emotions and travails.

The story revolves around a middle class family and how the lure of the Dollar affects relationships within that family. Sudha Murthy hopes that this story will show some families that love and affection can be more important than money. And I think she has successfully conveyed her sentiments.

Vinuta, the protagonist is an orphan who lives in Dharwad. She is a beautiful girl , hardworking, sweet natured and a talented singer. Chandra Shekar, an Engineer from Bangalore is posted in Dharwad and stays as a tenant in her house. He likes her and wishes to propose to her, but his ambition to settle well monetarily or rather to fulfill his mother Gouramma's ambition to see her son earn loads of money and marry off her daughter Surabhi into a well to do family.

Chandra Shekar's destiny takes him to the land of opportunities - The United States of America. Vinuta's destiny brings her to Banagalore and she becomes a teacher in the school where Chandra Sekhar's father Shamanna works as a School teacher. Shamanna is a simple, kindhearted gentleman and a highly regarded teacher. Again destiny brings Chandra Shekhar's younger brother Girish, a bank clerk and a good human being into Vinuta's life and she marries him and starts living with his family in Bangalore.

Meanwhile Chandra Shekhar settles in the United States and sends his mother Dollars, which keeps her happy as it has brought affluence to her family . Though Girish and Vinuta take care of the household and parents, their contribution is ignored by Gouramma and she constantly picks at Vinuta, but Shamanna cares about them and he is supportive of his daughter-in-law . And more trouble starts for Vinuta when Chandra Shekar marries a rich girl, Jamuna from Bangalore. Jamuna becomes the "Dollar Bahu" for Gouramma and Vinuta is subject to constant comparisons and humiliation.

Gouramma decides to visit her son and daughter-in-law in the United States. Her stay in that country makes her realize the importance of human relationships, and that the love and respect she got back home, cannot be bought by Dollars. The story ends on a positive note with an unexpected twist.

Dollar Bahu definitely qualifies for a good, light and meaningful reading. My rating of "Dollar Bahu" *****

My Ratings:

***** Excellent
**** Good
*** Average
** OK
* Yuck


Anonymous said...

The plot seems to leave relationships in a tangle! Maybe I'll read the book sometime (I'll probably borrow it from you ;) )


Manjula said...

Sure, you can!

Anonymous said...

Hi Manjula,
Good to keep reading your Dil se resoursefuls.I shall read that book
Have a great Sunday

Manjula said...

Hey Bharath, good to hear from you.

Anonymous said...

Hi Manju

I am not sure what the general impression is. Hope people don't think all of us here in us think about dollars all the time!

We are dying to visit India every year. Made more difficult by the struggling economy here. All our Indian values are cherished and we are trying to impart this to our kids as well.


Manjula said...

Hi Vedu,

I understand your feelings and it is indeed difficult. Your sentiments are voiced in the book. Read "Dollar Bahu", you'll love it.

praneshachar said...

yes I fully agree with you all Dollor Bahus get exposed only when the inlaws go to land of dollors. ofcourse it is not same in all there will be exceptions they are few as I have heard from so many. mostly it is case of calling them to take care baby sit and save their precious time may it be inlaws of either there is no difference.
I crave to read thin in kannda yes I will
great review and post keep going


in the Dollar Bahu Sudha Murthy Portrayed how a women presents her self towards other woman whatever relaships might be. in this nvoel sudha murhty beautifully written and draw the reader attention in every apsect what will happen in next? apart from the quality of writing she has to describe vinutha's mathoer in laws confession completely and how she will treats after her return from USA. we are well know how vinutha suffered by her motherinlaw it is neessary to know about how vinuta will tread by her mother in law after her confession towards her doughter in law's (Vinutha) DOllar Bahu is Dollar Bahu is wonder full novel, we need to talk about Mahasweatha it is also nice and hearet touching story every body to read