In 2002 I first read Born Confused by Tanuja Desi Hidier, starring one of my favorite YA heroines – Dimple Lala. This funny, bright, anxious and well, confused Indian American (as in her parents come from India) was a breath of fresh air.
Her story is one I go back to often. Weirdly despite coming from coming from completely different backgrounds, I felt that Dimple and I would have been friends.
Roll forward to 2017 – and a new literary Dimple hits the YA scene. When Dimple Met Rishi features another funny, bright, anxious, confused Indian American trying to figure her life out.
I actually know someone called Dimple and she’s the complete opposite – totally together and pretty sure who she is.
Both Dimples are not only dealing with all the usual confusing teenage stuff but also the cultural background of their families – particularly something quite odd to many – arranged or introduced marriage.
I have lots of friends from Indian families (and other parts of the subcontinent) and some of them have had arranged marriages – where their parents picked their spouses, although they could say no if they didn’t click.
For most of them it works out – and they’re super happy, but others weren’t so sure to start with. There is a definite culture clash between parents who are still connected to the culture “back home” and the Westernised teenagers and twentysomethings of the younger generation.
And it is this that both stories explore, where the daughters reject (but ultimately embrace parts of) the traditions their parents brought with them.
I have to say the Dimple I grew up with is still my favorite although the 2017 Dimple is still pretty cool. I think I would happily hang out with either of them.
Discussion Questions – let me know your thoughts in the comments
📚Have you read either of these books – if so what did you think?
📚Can you relate to the situation either Dimple is dealing with?
📚Are there any cultural things you and your family disagree on?