I bought “Tea for Two and a Piece of Cake” by Preeti Shenoy based on my experience with the earlier reading of her book “Life is what you make it”. I was definitely not disappointed in that it was an easy read and I finished it in a few hours straight.
Plain-Jane Nisha, from a middle-class family in Mumbai, who grew up without her mother’s love and with her father’s indifference works for a small tourism company with five others – two girls and three men. Of these, she is close to Chetana, from a wealthy family and Akash, an IIM aspirant who is younger to her by five years.
When during a chance date at a five-star hotel with one of her colleagues Prashant, Nisha meets Samir Sharma, the senior partner of Magellan International, they get attracted to each other. Nisha cannot believe her luck when Samir asks her out for a date.
But when Nisha loses her job the very next day and earns the wrath of Prashant, she is disappointed and starts looking out for another job. A few days later, Samir calls her and offers her a job as executive assistant to the senior partner of Magellan International, who, she gets to know later, is Samir himself.
Thus starts a love story which ends in their wedding, inspite of the class differences between them. Eight years and two children — 7-year old Tanya and 8 months old Rohit baby — later, Samir announces his decision to separate from Nisha.
Though Nisha is shattered, she gathers herself up, renounces his financial support and moves to her paternal home, of course, now devoid of her father. As she struggles to find a way to support herself, she finds that the once-impressed Chetana, now finds her company very uninteresting. It is at this time that Mrs. Billimoria, her widowed neighbour, and Akash, her ex-colleague, come to her rescue.
With their support, she sets up a catering business, which helps her maintain her family. Akash and Nisha find themselves in love, but Nisha is reluctant about taking the relationship further. At this point, Akash gets transferred to Pondicherry and Mrs. Billimoria passes away. Would Nisha be able to survive without her supports?
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- As is usual of Preeti Shenoy, it is an engaging read and keeps one glued to the story throughout.
- I found the letter from Samir to Nisha justifying his decision a very palpable one. A perfectly acceptable decision from his viewpoint.
- I liked the ending and Nisha’s decision. I shall not spoil the story for you. But this seemed to be a realistic ending which I appreciate.
- All the chapter names are names of songs: Waiting for Saturday Night, Luck Be a Lady, Twist of Fate, All Nightmare Long, … PS has picked appropriate songs for her chapters. An element of interest to a story which is otherwise sparkless.
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- It is a personal preference – I hate sob-stories, especially of women who are put into distress by men around them. This is exactly that. I am of the opinion, that the more we write, act and create such stories, the more the concept gets reinforced. Neither does a woman have to forget to hold her own self once she marries, nor does she have to find her world collapsing when the man leaves her.
- One more stereotype to the already commonplace sob-story is that Nisha cooks her way to success. Give me a break! I expect something better from PS.
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- At times, I wonder if there is a lot of sense in the so-called arranged marriages of the past, where a man and a woman of the same caste (essentially having similar traditions and culture) and same class marry. Class differences are really difficult to cross, aren’t they? In this story, Nisha is so consumed by the birth and milestones of her children that she fails to keep up the image of the CEO’s wife by accompanying him to parties. From Nisha’s point of view, she tries to give her children all the motherly love that she herself did not get during her childhood. From Samir’s point of view, though he arranged for baby-sitters, she was insistent on doing these herself and failed to meet his expectations as a wife. Very valid points of view.
Perfect story for a TV serial.