Today, I join hands with the other amazing Ubuntu authors (remember - Ubuntu is a line of romances geared to the African continent, a trailblazing line by the amazing peeps at Decadent Publishing).
And lo and behold, my very own second Ubuntu book, LIGHT MY WORLD, released yesterday! Since the topic for this blog hop is Pop Culture in Africa, it got me thinking.... The major thread in the book is the search for Prince Charming in a sea of frogs that even has an ogre in the mix...but pop culture abounds with the quest for Mr. Perfect. What's a different, if not unique, aspect of pop culture do I exploit in the book?
Light My World is Book 2 in the Island Girls Trilogy - the series follows the lives and loves of 3 sisters of Indo-Mauritian origin on the island of Mauritius during the 2000-2010 decade, and one of the things each sister has to put up with...is their super overbearing mother!
Has anybody watched the adaptation of Pride and Prejudice by Indo-Briton director, Gurinder Chada? Hers became Bride and Prejudice, and the Bennetts are the Bakshis, an Indian family with 4 girls to marry...and would you believe it, Mrs. Bakshi is as much a harridan as the original Mrs. Bennett was!
Cross over to the other hit movie by the same director - Bend It Like Beckham. Jess Bhamra, the heroine in that tale, wants nothing else except to play football like her idol, David Beckham...but there's, of course, an overbearing Indian mum at home that wants to dress her up in traditional clothing (shame on you for showing your legs to the world! Tchi!) and cook up dishes like Aloo Gobi so she'll be the perfect daughter-in-law prospect when the time comes for her to marry!
Check out any Bollywood movie or ZeeTV or Star Network soap opera, and you are bound to fall on a harridan-like Indian mother whose goal is a 'good' marriage for her children, especially the daughters!
It wouldn't be a mistake to say that there is now the Indian mother archetype in Bollywood and other such Indian-culture-inspired tales - yes, the Indian mum is that much of a permanent fixture of every Indian origin kid!
So is it a surprise, then, that my trilogy about 3 sisters of Indian origin has - you guessed it - a harrowing Indian mother? Back when The Other Side came out, I've had readers tell me they loved to hate on Mrs. Hemant in the story. Others said she brought a chuckle or two along the way, especially in Light My World.
Here's an excerpt that features her in Light My World, Diya Hemant's (the youngest sister) story:
She loved her big, three-bedroom space. Basically, she loved having her own place. It’d been hell to wrestle with her mother for the permission to come live on her own, but in the end, Gayatri Hemant had given in when her determined daughter had used every trick in the book for her parents to yell, “Get your own place, for God’s sake!” Quite a feat to accomplish when parents hoarded their children until the offspring’s marriage tore them apart.
Her cell phone rang as the lift doors opened on the third floor.
“Speaking of the devil,” Diya said as she glanced at the caller ID. With a weary exhale, she picked up. “Hi, Mum.”
“Hello, sweetheart.” The shrill voice gushed her greeting. “I just called Lara, and she said you left to come back to the flat.”
She didn’t miss the reproach in the tone as her mother all but spat the word “flat” out. “It’s my home, Mum.”
Her mother sighed at the other end. “Diya, I thought you’d have realised your folly by now. Come back home. It’s not good for you to live all alone in such a large building. You don’t even have people close by if ever a problem should arise.”
She grimaced. She’d heard the same litany ever since she’d settled here. Lara had told her how nagging their mother could be, but Diya had never suspected their parent would harass anyone this bad. Even for her, who usually had no trouble to work around her mother and do as she pleased, it had become hard to put up with such relentless persecution.
Once onto the glossy black marble of the lobby floor, she focused her attention on stepping on the star-like reflections of the tiny lights from the ceiling. This time, something blocked her path. Cardboard boxes in front of the left flat.
Aha! “Mum, you’ll be pleased to know I’m no longer alone. New neighbours settled into the flat next door.”
Her tone lost some of its perkiness when she noticed the huge box labelled “Toys.” A family, all right. Out went the fantasies of the handsome, single stranger. The loss of that image echoed with a loud, wet splash in her mind.
Pulling herself out of the dejected thought, she concentrated on the conversation, if any talk with her mother could be called a conversation, at hand. “How are you doing, Mum? And how’s Daddy?”
“Oh, you’ll never believe this!”
Diya braced herself for the assault on her eardrums as the outburst continued.
“There were prayers today at Ruby’s place, and everybody was talking about your interview in WideView.”
WideView, the monthly lifestyle supplement of one of the local papers, had featured a three-page slot on a house ALIDA had decorated. The project had been their first break, commissioned by a friend of Ange’s mother, who had seen the scheme the two girls had done in the Marivaux family home in the inland, posh area of Floréal.
The interview in question amounted to nothing more than a few lines here and there in the body of the article. “I gather you’ve seen it, too. What do you think of the house?”
“Simply marvellous, sweetheart. It made me so proud to tell everyone my little girl had done all of it,” the older woman gushed, before she went quiet.
Something bad was coming. Her mother hadn’t buttered her up for nothing.
“You know, Vimla’s nephew just came back from England. He’s got a PhD in Econometrics from the London School of Economics….”
And he’s looking for a girl to marry. Diya didn’t need to hear her mother say the words. Good grief, when would this sick matchmaking game ever stop?
“Mum, it’s no. Full stop. I’m not interested.”
The line went quiet, before she heard a huff.
“Fine, suit yourself. Just don’t say you never had a chance when you end up an old maid.”
She rolled her eyes despite the fury building up inside her like steam in a pressure cooker. “What’s so wrong with that? It’s your generation that needs a man for everything, Mother. Not mine.”
Annoyed at having lost her temper, and ticked by the quiet coming from the other end, she snapped, “Oh, forget it. I’m going. Kiss for you, love to Daddy.”
She pressed her forehead against the cool glass in the side panel of her front door.
Would her mother ever stop irritating the hell out of her? Not likely. Gayatri Hemant lived for torturing her daughters into culture and conventions.
You might think I am exaggerating here, and taking creative license.... I'd say no, because Mrs. Hemant is actually based on - you guessed it again - my own mother! There's shades of all my (overbearing, too!) aunties in her - aunties who are all Indian mothers in their own right!
So, Pop Culture in England, USA, India, even Africa - Indian mothers remain the same the world over! And frankly, I don't think we'd want it any other way, because she's too much of a fixture of Indian life as we all know it (though, yes, she could get off our backs from time to time!)
Don't forget to check out the other authors in this tour! Here's the lineup
8 April - Kathy Bosman
9 April - Zee Monodee - Author's Corner
10 April - Nana Prah - Writing Romance and Loving Life
11 April - Inge Saunders - Inside These Lines
14 April - Kiru Taye Writes
15 April - Alissa Baxter
16 April - back at Kathy Bosman's for a final chance to enter.
And enrol in our giveaway!
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You can win these awesome prizes:
$30 Amazon Gift Card
The Dashing Debutante Print Book by Alissa Baxter
Love Through Time E-book by Nana Prah
Wedding Gown Girl E-book by Kathy Bosman
Book Bundle 1
Lord Fenmore’s Wager Print Book by Alissa Baxter
A Touch of Winter Anthology E-book by Nana Prah
A Valentine Challenge E-book by Kiru Taye
Book Bundle 2
Send and Receive Print Book by Alissa Baxter
Three Tiers for Win E-book by Kathy Bosman
An Engagement Challenge E-book by Kiru Taye
Book Bundle 3
The up-till-now releases in the “Eternelles” Series by Zee Monodee
Want to read more about the my very own Indian-mother-invention? Here's where you can find my Ubuntu books:
Light My World (Island Girls #2)
The Other Side (Island Girls #1)
Amazon US (Ebook & Print) ~ Amazon UK ~ Amazon CA (ebook & Print) ~ Barnes & Noble (Nook & Paperback) ~ Smashwords ~ Kobo ~ AllRomance Ebooks ~ Decadent (ebook) ~ Decadent (Paperback) ~ Kalahari (Paperback)
From Mauritius with love,