Paddy Indian

‘Paddy Indian’ is yet another “NRI” novel, battling the all-so-familiar issues we come across in books of this genre; yet it is refreshingly different. For starters, Madhavan has chosen an off-the-beaten-track locale for her debut novel – Ireland. So, fancy a young Indian (Tamil to be specific) doctor, who lands in Dublin to practice at a local hospital there and eventually appear for his Fellowship exams. That is Padhman (or Paddy) for you. Hailing from a wealthy, medical, “westernized” family in Madras, Padhman finds himself in the company of his childhood friends, Renu and Sunil (an easy-going, fun loving, happily married couple). He also finds himself being self-conscious for the fact that he is an “Indian”, a “foreigner” in an Irishman’s world. Yet this is the land  where he finds his true love – Aoife. This love interest ruffles doubt and speculation for both the Irish and Indian families. Does their love survive the cross-cultural test? What happens when Padhman’s world is shaken by a traumatic incident?

The novel is fast-paced, interesting and makes a good read. There is a healthy sprinkling of Tamil slang and references to iconic buildings in Chennai, which makes the reader silently smile; the relationship between Padhman, Renu and Sunil is well brought out and totally identifiable; the situations, people and conversations are all something you can relate to. All in all, ‘Paddy Indian’ is old wine in a new bottle – nothing spectacular yet definitely worth reading.

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