Beyond the Veil by Siddhi Palande +Author Interview

Arranged marriage is still very prevalent in India. Every woman who goes into an arranged marriage, does so with a lot of expectations. The courtship period can at times be misleading to what life after marriage is really like. Sometimes the marriage turns out to be nothing like that you expect it to be. Beyond the Veil by Siddhi Palande deals with all of this- arranged marriage, the mindset of a girl who has just gotten married, how she deals with all the challenges thrown at her, and how things change in the end.

Janhvi Desai, is your quintessential Indian woman, well educated, good looking, in a well paying job, and getting married to a guy found by her parents, matched by horoscopes. The guy she is marrying is every parents dream son-in-law, an engineer settled in Mumbai and earning well to keep his wife happy. Like any girl getting into an arrange marriage, Jahnvi has built castles in the air about the sort of relationship that her husband and her will have post wedding. Their courtship, though brief, is filled with fun conversations and Jahnvi looks forward to getting married.

Before she can blink the wedding date has come and as it closer to the date of the wedding, Ram seems to be drifting away from her. Jahnvi writes it off as pre wedding jitters and goes about her wedding preparations. Once the wedding is done, things take a turn for the worse. Ram refuses to even share a bed with her and her mother-in-law if anything makes it worse. The only positive aspect in Jahnvi’s life is her new job and her steady growth in the company.

The couple continues to be estranged, until Ram’s sister and family get caught in a case that only Jahnvi was able to help them out of. After that incident, Ram and Jahnvi start to live as friends.

Why was Ram aloof? What made Ram change is mind? What happens to them is the rest of the story and I don’t want to put up any spoilers. The only thing that I can say is that the twist in the tale is one that you will not see coming.

I loved how Siddhi has captured the essence of what runs through a girl’s head before marriage and also after marriage when her husband refuses to be intimate with her. Jahnvi is a very strong character from the start of the story and if anything her strength only builds as the story goes along. The mother in law character sounds like any typical serial mother in law, but it is possible that there are really women like that in the world. Ram comes off as a flimsy character initially, until you find out the reason for his behaviour. There is a lot said without actually being said and that is one reason why I really loved this book.

Now we also managed to do a small interview with Siddhi. Here is what she has to say.

1) Tell us a bit about yourself and your background. Are you a full time author?
I am a former media professional. I have worked with some of the renowned names in the industry namely ANI, TOI, Bookmyshow, Zee to name a few. I gave up the corporate life to become a householder. Now, a mother of a beautiful daughter, I mostly spend my time with her and the remaining to weave a fictional world on Wattpad.
2) What is the inspiration for this book?
The society we live in has ample of stories which are unheard or ignored. Most of the times such stories get suppressed because the families of the victim are hesitant since it will malign the family repute. I had heard of this story a long time ago. When I decided to pen it down I didn’t realize that this story was still lingering at the back of my mind. And so, what started as a rant turned into a Novella with a story taken from the womb of the society. 
3) Have you gotten started with the next book?
Not yet. But I am experimenting writing a new genre on Wattpad. 
4) What are your views on arranged marriage?
 It is one setup which needs to be amended as per today’s standards. We need to give the couple time to court and understand each other. What’s with the rush to get married and crossing the “marriageable age”? Who defined “marriageable age”? We have turned it into a rule of sorts. It needs to change because therein lies the success of a happy and healthy family life which is diminishing day by day. 
5) Do you relate yourself with the protagonist Jahnvi?Some incidences portrayed in the Novella are taken from my personal/professional life. You see, a writer always leaves a part of his/herself in his/her works. So that’s what I have done. But apart from that, a thing common between me and Janhvi is that we both are headstrong.
Do let us know what you guys think about arranged marriage in the comments section below.

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