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India is teeming with a young population that was born post-liberalisation, grew up with the internet, witnessed the advent of smartphones and social media, and is well-versed in the many dialects of a globalised pop culture. But when it comes to love and marriage, they're often disconcertingly expected to adhere to the orthodoxy of a bygone era. It's this conflict between the parallel paths of alleged tradition and mutinous modernity that drives journalist Mansi Choksi's The Newlyweds.
Through vivid, lyrical prose, Choksi shines a light on three young couples who buck against patriarchy-approved arranged marriages in the pursuit of love, illustrating the challenges, triumphs and losses that await them.
Zigzagging through India and its smorgasbord of cultures, each chock-full of its own unwritten commandments and sanctions, Choksi introduces our brave newlyweds. First, there's the lesbian couple forced to flee for a chance at a life together. Then there's the Hindu woman and Muslim man who escaped their families under the cover of night after being harassed by a violent militia group. Finally, there's the inter-caste couple doing everything to avoid the horrifying fate of a similar duo murdered for choosing to love.
Engaging and moving, The Newlyweds raises universal questions such as what are we really willing to risk for love? If we're lucky enough to find it, does it change us? For the better? Or for the worse?