If you enjoyed the movie *The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel and its sequel and you’re up for a bit of naughty, then you’ll love reading Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows by Balli Kaur Jaswal. When we start reading a new book we usually have an idea of what it’s about from reading a book review or getting a recommendation from a friend. Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows was a title that kept popping up but I had no idea what it was about when I downloaded it and was wonderfully surprised that I loved it right from page one. Set in London, England, the story starts with second generation Indian sisters discussing a decision by the older sister Mindi to advertise for a husband—to facilitate her take on an arranged marriage. She can’t find a husband on her own and she wants to get on with her life. Her younger sister Nikki, a law school dropout who works as a bartender and lives in the flat above the pub where she works is appalled by her sister’s plan. As a practising member of various feminist groups and rejecting her family’s traditional ways, Nikki is still exploring her own way in life but it sure doesn’t involve an arranged marriage, particularly with a husband picked by her traditional Punjabi-born mother.

When Nikki reluctantly goes to the local temple to post her sister’s advertisement for a husband on the marriage bulletin board, she spots an ad for someone to teach writing classes and language workshops two evenings a week. With no experience and no other candidates applying for the position, Nikki is hired by a community services worker who has problems with English.  Neither of them is entirely sure what the job involves but the community worker who hired Nikki knew the widows in the community who frequent the temple were in need of education, entertainment and something to do to fill their time. Nikki thought she was going to be teaching a class in creative writing, not knowing that most of her students were illiterate and unable to read or write either Punjabi or English. The resulting syllabus the group concocts is hilarious.

Girlfriends enjoy sharing wicked secrets regardless of age or culture.

Nikki soon discovers that her students are frustrated, illiterate, smart women who want to relive their youth through sharing erotic, soft porn stories they either make up or have secretly experienced. Even modern Nikki is shocked by their output but goes along and arranges for the ladies to dictate their stories, all done covertly to avoid the community morals overseers. The popularity of the classes takes off and it becomes increasingly difficult to hide what they’re actually talking and writing about.

Underlying the salacious stories they produce at each class, we learn about the restrictions, culture and gossipy nature of their tight community. There’s a mysterious death or two, exposed family secrets and plenty of insights into the conflicts and tensions between traditional Indian immigrants and their British-born offspring. The stories are told with humour, sensitivity and first-hand insights. There are some delicious minor plots and character studies that kept me engrossed from start to finish. I loved this book and rate it 9 out of 10.

The inspiration for The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, and the book is way better.

To order Erotic Stories For Punjabi Widows by Balli Kaur Jaswal from Amazon, click here. (The Kindle edition is only $1.49 and the paperback is just $13.28.)

*The movie The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel is based on the book These Foolish Things by Deborah Moggach and I considered the book far better than the movie, which, of course, everyone loved. The characters in the book were more multi-dimensional, funnier and far more textural than what could be conveyed in a 90-minute movie. Do yourself a favour and also read These Foolish Things.
To order These Foolish Things by Deborah Moggach from Amazon, click here.

To order my new book BOOMER BEAT from Amazon click here.

 

Lynda Davis

As an early Baby Boomer, born in 1947, it seems to me that as we approach our retirement years, Boomers have gone from being the energy driving our nation to slowly becoming invisible. We risk losing our identity as society remains stubbornly youth-centric. And the irony is that Gen Xers and Ys are not the majority; we are. BOOMERBROADcast is my platform for being the voice of Baby Boomers, women in particular. We've generated a lot of changes over the decades but there's still a long way to go. After a 40-year career in the corporate world, I've taken up expressing the observations and concerns of our generation. Instead of pounding the pavement in my bellbottoms with a cardboard sign, I'm pounding my laptop (I learned to type on a manual typewriter and old habits die hard). If you have issues or concerns you would like voiced or have comments on what I've voiced, I'd love to hear from you. We started breaking the rules in the sixties and now that we're in our sixties it's no time to become complacent. Hope you'll stay tuned and if you like BOOMERBROADcast, share it with your friends. Let's rock n' roll! If you would like to be notified whenever I publish a new posting, click on the little blue box in the lower right of your screen that says +Follow→ Lynda Davis

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