Skip to main content

Anita & Me - Meera Syal

This is one of the few times where I first saw a film before reading the book which inspired it. I still vividly remember that it was a lazy Sunday afternoon in Mumbai’s sultry summer when I chanced upon this film playing on ‘Star Movies’. The atmosphere at home was laden with blissful sleep which was a natural consequence of a scrumptious feast devoured at lunch….

Coming back to the subject, I felt at the time that the film was rather stereotypical of the portrayal of an Indian immigrant family living in the UK. However, it is only when I read the book that my perception changed. I can safely say that ‘Anita & Me’ is a true echo of life as an Indian immigrant in 70s Britain; Britain that was not as ethnically diverse as it is today, a place where an immigrant truly felt that he/she was an ‘outsider’ especially in a coal mining village which was predominantly white. Now, add to this the pangs of a teenage girl trying to make sense of adolescence and culture conflict at the same time. What you get is a book rich in story line and characterisation.

The protagonist of the book Meena, adores Anita, a white British girl living in the same locality as Meena and her Punjabi family. Meena is somewhat drawn towards Anita and her boldness. The two begin to form a friendship characteristic of adolescence when one is trying to establish one’s own identity.  The complexities of this process are brought to fore as cultural conflict creates the expected anxieties. However, as you read it you begin to wonder whether true friendship manages to rise above the very obvious differences that are presented to us.

Meera Syal is one of Britain’s most popular authors and film makers. The book has also managed to make its mark in Britain’s education system where it is part of the English Literature coursework for the GCSEs. I would say to you, watch the film by all means but don’t forget to read the book!


Popular posts from this blog

Sab Moha Maya Hai - For The Sake of Valentine's Day!

14th February, Valentine’s Day. A day we are told we must “celebrate” as it epitomises this wonderful emotion that we as humans are capable of – Love.

“So, what are your plans for the day?” I was asked this question about a million times today and all I said was “Oh! I don’t know, I’m very unromantic!” to which I got responses like “But it’s the day of love” or “Come on! you need to celebrate love!” and so on. Having reflected upon this small talk that people often engage in to ease the awkward silences, I felt the need to put my thoughts to paper about the difference between romance and love as I find the two are often confused- one for the other. Romance is an expression of love, not love itself. Love is when you consistently strive for the wellbeing of another despite it causing you discomfort or pain. It is unconditional, not based on trivialities like tokens of affection which have sadly come to become measures of the extent of love. If you buy me a cake, you love me 30%, a design…

Flesh and Bone and Water - Luiza Sauma

I was delighted to receive this book for review from Penguin UK. Having grown up with memories of the Penguin logo in almost every bookshop I visited, it felt wonderful to be recognised as a reviewer by this world renowned publishing house. 'Flesh and Bone and Water' has nothing to do with South Asia. However, the commonality it shares with the region is that it is set in Brazil, a place that is often referred to as also being part of the 'third world' group of nations. "It's easy to leave a place when you're young. Coming back is harder. That's my advice : stay where you are." And so begins this beautiful novel which I would term as part coming of age and part an immigrant's journey from Brazil to Londres (London). More importantly why does the protagonist Andre venture back on a journey to his childhood home? The author Luiza Sauma has very poignantly narrated the story in first person so it feels like Andre is telling you his own story. You…

Serving Crazy With Curry - Amulya Malladi

Food! - That wonderful part of our existence that not only plays the essential role of providing daily sustenance but is also an archetype of culture and tradition. For me, food is a meaningful catalyst to creating unforgettable memories and associations. There are certain foods that I associate with certain events or significant people in my life. I also seek comfort in food be it a hot bowl of dal rice after a hard day at work or a sneaky piece of chocolate as a reward for achieving something (Yes, I do apply the principles of behavioural psychology to my own life!)
I first came across Amulya Malladi’s books in London’s local libraries. I was impressed that her books are well stocked which is an indication of their popularity. I read a couple of these books and soon found out the reason for this. Two words – Writing and Characters! Her writing is immensely engaging and her characters threaten to come alive page by page. This certainly applies to ‘Serving Crazy with Curry’.
Devi, our …