YAYA, short for Yasmin Yusuf, coming from a conservative Bengali family, is thirty, ambitious and is working in a firm in London as a finance analyst. She is the protagonist in the novel ‘Saris and the City.’ She has just broken with her steady boyfriend, whom she was hoping to marry. So she throws herself into her job, trying to restore the fortunes of a lingerie company. She is tremendously attracted to a banker, the dashing Zachary Khan. Zach moves in a fashionable circle and has a reputation among woman. So it does come as a pleasant surprise when he pays more than cursory interest in Yasmin. On the job front, Yasmin is struggling with an indomitable boss Hannah Gibbs-Smythson. While on a business trip to Dubai and then to Bombay, Zach and Yasmin confess their love for each other. But will Yasmin’s family accept Zach, who is half-Bengali, half-British, is the question. They would not be comfortable with a boy from the mixed race. One evening Yasmin returns from a party drunk and Zach brings her home. Yasmin’s former boyfriend had apparently mixed her fruit juice with alcohol. The family loses no time in telling Zach off, calling him all kinds of names. Days later Yasmin comes to know that Zach is leaving London, to take up an assignment in Dubai. And she also learns that Hannah is his mother. In a dramatic filmy climax, all puzzled pieces fall into their slots and all ends well.
The novel is a sweet romance, with everybody living happily ever after. The author Rekha Waheed, born and raised in London, brings out the Brit-Muslim scene quiet well. This is her second book, her previous book was A-Z Guide to Arranged Marriage. A readable novel. But the connection of the plot with Saris and the City didn’t come through?
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