Finding a match

Meet the authorAnita Jain

Meet the authorAnita Jain   | Photo Credit: Photo: Sandeep Saxena

Author and journalist Anita Jain says there is more to Marrying Anita than the name suggests

“Marrying Anita”, published by Bloomsbury-Penguin, is the frank memoir of journalist Anita Jain. It combines confessions with a travelogue. Frustrated with the dating scene in America, Jain moves to Delhi, hoping for better luck and better men. While the book’s intent is spelt out at the start — that of getting married — it projects the personal against a larger reality.

With a reporter’s accuracy, Jain lays out all the details. The writing never hides behind pseudo names or masks. The Harvard University graduate explains, “The book is in the genre of a memoir. In India there hasn’t been much of a precedent for it,” she adds, “Here, I find people hide behind fiction, when they want to write about sex or family secrets.” Today, does she regret putting herself out there? “In the mornings I do wake up and wonder what I’ve done. I now realise there is no getting away from it,” she says thoughtfully.

While the book directly maps out her life, she says that not being a blogger has protected her privacy.

In an article in New York magazine (2005), Jain asked, “Is Arranged Marriage Really Any Worse than Craig’s list?” The article got her a book deal. And routing her search for a husband to India was as much for herself as it was for her book. She explains, “Many people sat with me for the purpose of the book. They knew they were going to be written about. If they hadn’t — it would not have been ethical.” On second thought she adds, “They might not like what I’ve written, but they knew!”

“Marrying Anita” details Delhi in a way few books have — charting the city’s neighbourhoods and hangouts with absolute precision. But Jain even translates shaadi into English and provides a definition for ‘Kerala’. Considering such explanations, did she have a foreign audience in mind when writing? She says honestly, “I had got the contract from a U.S. based company. So, I did have a foreign audience in mind. But there’s nothing wrong with that. I feel Indians will and are enjoying it just the same.”

Considering the missing husband was not found in the last book, will there be a sequel? “I need to recover my privacy first,” she says with a smile.


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