When Dimple Met Rishi: love blossoms between Indian American teens in an app camp

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NEW YORK – As the heat of the summer starts creeping in, romances start to blossom and a new heartwarming rom-com has come out in the market.

Mixing together the flavors of Bollywood and Hollywood films along with Indian American culture and Desi idioms, ‘When Dimple Met Rishi’ by Indian American author Sandhya Menon is a sweet and relatable book for Young Adults.

Main characters Dimple Shah and Rishi Patel are drawn into an arranged marriage at the age of 18. Having just graduated from high school, Dimple decides to attend a six-week app camp for her desire to pursue a career in web development. Rishi on the other hand, who has an interest in comics, attends it to fall in love with her.

Dimple dislikes Rishi at first because of a misunderstanding during their initial meeting at a San Francisco Starbucks, when he called her his “future wife,” as he knew their meeting was arranged by their parents and she had no clue about it.

Sandhya Menon

Written by Sandhya Menon, the book focuses on the mature relationship the two Indian American teenagers share.

“The world needs more sweet, heartwarming, funny stories about marginalized teens! As an immigrant and child of immigrants myself, I wanted to show this population living their best lives, falling in love, following their passions, and having a happy ending,” exclaimed Menon, in an interview to Bustle.

Love and romance eventually develop between the two as their relationship reaches new heights. While Dimple never used to believe in love, Rishi helps her discover that love is not a weakness but in fact an essential human emotion that one cannot avoid. Dimple too helps Rishi understand that as the eldest son, he should not have to sacrifice his own happiness in order to earn the respect of his parents.

When Dimple Met Rishi does not break any boundaries, although, it is a rare piece of literature that is meant for Desi teens and lacks South Asian representation to an extent. “These teens identify as both Indian and American, and they want to see stories about people like them,” said Menon. “At the same time, though, my stories are also about teens just being teens – chasing their dreams, learning more about themselves, falling in love, and living happily ever after,” she added.

One can expect anything from a traditional romantic comedy when reading this book as in many ways, it is a classic American coming-of-age story set against a Desi backdrop so that a Desi-American reader can feel both empathy and sympathy for the characters as they read along.

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