I decided to watch “Mismatched” – a new Netflix India show. I was able to complete it in like two hours as it has only six episodes. I had no expectations from the show, to be honest. So, I was not disappointed. It showcases cute teenage romance between the various couples on the show. The show tries so hard to give moral lessons but fails miserably.
There was something totally “mismatched” about the whole show. With the development of multiple subplots, I lost track of our two main characters. I could never connect with them at all. The show is based book named “When Dimple Met Rishi” by Sandhya Menon. The end of season 1 left me with a ton of questions. I became curious as to what happens next. When I googled it, I came to know about this book adaptation, So, decided to give this book a read.
The show has a ton of flaws. But, it’s not as out-of-place as the book itself. While both of them have the same backdrop, there is a lot of difference between the two. Lets’ first talk about our two bizarre characters in the book.
Dimple is a 17-year old, high-school graduate, incoming Stanford grad, US-born Indian kid. Despite her intelligence, all her mother wants is for her to get married to an Ideal Indian husband. Rishi is our “Rahul” from K3G. He is an 18-year old incoming MIT grad. Born in a rich family, extremely gentle, follows Indian customs, talks about Indian scriptures, and so on and on and on. I have never seen any US-born Indian kid as ideal as Rishi, and that is my problem with the book, it’s one-dimensional. (The show has a similar plot but is based in India. The characters have been portrayed as smart-asses)
Rishi wants a perfect-romance like his parents, who got married in their early 20s. So, he decides to look out for a partner to marry. Ok, can you even digest that an 18-YEAR OLD boy is looking for a bride? yaaaay… Take your time . . . . . . . . . . . He finally comes across Dimple’s picture and decides to meet her @ Insomnia Con. Both of them headed to this once-a-year app development event in San Francisco. Dimple is a portrayed as a full-on coding freak, whereas Rishi is just there to meet her. When Rishi met Dimple for the first time, the first words he uttered were “Hello, Future Wife! I can’t wait to get started on the rest of our lives!” OMG, who does that. That is so so so creepy. She throws her cold-coffee on his face and walks away. Well-deserved Mr. Rishi.
Rishi knew from watching his parents that what mattered were compatibility and stability. He didn’t want a million dramatic, heart-stoppingly romantic moments — he wanted just one long, sustainable partnership.
I was highly disappointed after reading this book. It almost felt like watching a Bollywood movie, full of drama. Lets’ go over some of the other cheesy characters.
Rishi’s brother – Ashish, is the complete opposite (Obviously, Duh!) He doesn’t respect anyone, keeps his parents worried all-the-time. So Cliche!! Then there are characters like Hari, whose parents have just donated a whole freaking CS department to the University. He is there to participate in the event. Hari goes around insulting people on their faces with his two equally shitty friends Evan and Isabelle. And we have Celia, Dimple’s roommate, who is struggling with her own set of problems. She is trying to get along with the bully group to look cool, something that she wasn’t able to do in high-school.
Ok. Enough. The book shows every character exaggerated, one-dimensional, and tasteless. The show is based in India, so all the drama is still justified. Teenagers in America don’t go around winning coding competitions because their parents are trustees of the freaking university. The book’s story is based in San Francisco, the heart of Silicon Valley. You are telling me that kids get admit to a damn big coding hackathon last minute? Is it that easy? Fuck No. Are you seriously alleging an extravagant coding event to be rigged? I just can not believe this shit.
Then I reached the last page and read about the author of this book. Somehow it all suddenly made sense. Sandhya Menon was born and brought up in India. Ok, now I understand where all the gibberish is coming from. This is what happens when an Indian author tries to write a love-story with US-born Indian kids as main leads. Irrespective of the country, teenagers never behave like that. No one fucking thinks about getting married at the age of 18, forget meeting someone in an arranged situation. BS! The “Never have I Ever” show on Netflix does a much better job of resonating with the problems of Indian origin kids in the US.
The love story between Dimple and Rishi was cute, don’t get me wrong. If the character would have been 20-ish, it would have still made a whole lot of sense. I will give some points for gradual chemistry-building. Also, loved the casual references to San Francisco’s local spots (since I live in the city). If I keep the flaws aside – I will say that the author did a good job by sticking to a single plot. At least the book focused on the two main leads, unlike the show which went haywire in every freaking direction.
I am unable to decide which of the two, book and show, is more flawed. But, now that I have already read the book and seen the show, there is no point in ranting. The only thing that made me content is that I could complete the book in one sitting.
If you want to read an absurd, romantic drama with Indian characters, go ahead give it a read. I did not hate the novel, it just did not make sense to me.