Blurb – From the back cover of the book
Chanda Maheshwari’s family is shaken when her thirteen-year-old bridegroom Veerendra runs away immediately after the wedding. The eight-year-old child doesn’t even understand the impact on her life. Unable to face their neighbours and friends, the Maheshwaris move from their village to Jaipur and begin a new life in the city.
Fourteen years later, Chanda is studying in a Delhi College. She takes up a temporary job at RS Software Pvt. Ltd. and falls head-over-heels for the boss of the operation. But what about Ranveer Singh? Is he interested in her?
Ranveer’s secretary Shikha is desperate to make him fall for her. All she wants is life-long security with a rich man. But it’s nerd Abhimanyu who keeps getting in the way. Abhi is Ranveer’s second-in-command and Shikha isn’t keen on him as she’s eyeing the main chance.
When Ranveer appears to show interest in Chanda, she’s faced with a new problem. Astrologer Vidyasagar insists that she would get back with her husband Veerendra. Does anyone want to know what she wants?
Chanda feels torn between the man she has fallen for and the family values that have been instilled in her. Will she ever find happiness?
Long back when Balika Vadhu, the popular TV serial started on Colors TV, I wondered why they are tapping on this ancient custom in this modern age. It brings out the harsh truth, that child marriages still happened in the remote villages of North India. Sundari Venkataraman has touched on that sensitive issue of child marriage in her new book, The Runaway Bridegroom. I was reminded of the same TV serial when I read through the first few chapters of the book when Veera and Chanda were getting married. The descriptions of patriarchal society was beautifully described. Fast forward 14 years, and we see Chanda and Ranveer and their sizzling chemistry happening in the software company, along with his envying secretary Shikha, eager to hook up Ranveer. The characters and the entire plot looked very promising. As in a Bollywood film, it was interesting to see how the runaway groom is found at the end. Talk of coincidences! The fears of Chanda torn between the traditional values, and her dreams of the modern age, was very well written. I specially liked the twist Shikha and Abhimanyu brought to the main story.
But unlike the previous book of Sundari, Meghna, which I read, I found that the flow of this book quite jerky, maybe because there were other sub-plots and interesting characters like Abhimanyu and Shikha, Dadaji, both sets of parents, and the four brothers of Chanda. There were areas where parallel events were described, and I felt lot was going on at one stretch, especially towards the climax. Well, that maybe considered as a positive point too, if you like the twists and turns. I don’t consider myself as an avid reader enough to judge authors, but I felt the third person narrative kept changing quite frequently between Ranveer and Chanda, making it difficult for the reader to understand what they are going through. Obviously I am not a lover of love at first sight stories, but rather much interested in how the love story develops slowly. But that’s something which can be easily dismissed considering this book is supposed to be an breezy romantic read akin to Bollywood masala romantic movies.
My rating would be 3/5