Born in Pittsburgh, PA; married. Education: Syracuse University, B.S., 1991; University of Cincinnati, M.B.A., 1996.
Home—Minneapolis, MN; and Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
Writer. Worked as a brokerage representative for Fidelity Investments and as management consultant for Deloitte and Touche Consulting Group.
The Hindi-Bindi Club (novel), Bantam Books (New York, NY), 2007.
Monica Pradhan is an American writer whose parents immigrated to the U.S. from Mumbai, India, during the 1960s. Pradhan was born in Pittsburgh and grew up in the Washington, DC, area. Her early love of books was encouraged by her father, who had considered them luxury items when he was growing up in India. Though Monica loved to write, she earned her B.S. in managerial law and public policy, and her M.B.A. in finance. Though for a time she pursued a career as a brokerage representative and a management consultant, she continued to work on her writing as time allowed, and eventually she was able to devote herself full-time to working on her fiction.
Pradhan had only visited India a few times throughout the course of her life until her mother, following a serious accident, decided to move back to her native country. Over a period of four years, Pradhan traveled frequently between Minneapolis and Mumbai, and in the process, she laid the foundation for her novel The Hindi-Bindi Club. The novel revolves around three women—Meenal Deshpande, Saroj Chawla, and Uma Basu—all of whom immigrated to Boston from India, and their daughters. The older women are from different regions in India, speak different languages, and have different traditions, but they also share commonalities that are comforting to them as they adjust to their new country. Their bonds are strong, and they expect that their daughters will also have very close ties. The girls, however, don't feel the same kind of conflicts that their mothers experience. While Kiran and Rani are close friends, they both have problems with Preity, whom they consider to be too perfect and pretty. Preity has her own challenges, however; although her marriage seems perfect, she is haunted by a love from her past and does not know what to do with her feelings. The other girls also have conflicts as they mature. Rani forsakes a career in science for life as an artist, a move her parents can hardly understand; and Kiran marries a rock star, only to have the marriage end when he is unfaithful to her. Though her marriage had horrified her parents, and she had never felt a real connection to India, Kiran finds herself wondering if real happiness could be found in a traditional marriage, arranged by her parents. The story line explores the complexity of Indian-American culture, and is fleshed out with numerous recipes that are prepared by the characters during the course of the book.
The Hindi-Bindi Club is told from alternating points of view, giving the reader a look at the inner world of each character. As Lesley Mason commented in Book Bag: ‘This device, no longer novel, doesn't work for all writers. The voices have to be clear, distinct and separate, while the stories they tell must mesh into a single narrative, where the edges blur into the whole picture. Pradhan manages it well.’ Some reviewers noted similarities between The Hindi-Bindi Club and Amy Tan's novel The Joy Luck Club, which also featured alternating narrators and a theme of intergenerational and cultural tension. Joanne Wilkinson, a contributor to Booklist, described Pradhan's novel as ‘much lighter than Tan's,’ but credited the author with vividly evoking the ‘vibrant’ nature of Indian culture, and capturing, with humor, the challenges of assimilating into a new culture. Reviewing the book for Curled Up with a Good Book, Regan Windsor stated: ‘The Hindi-Bindi Club is a heartwarming look at the bonds of friendship, the complexity of the mother-daughter relationship, the intricacies of culture, and how life has a way of gently guiding us in the right direction."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, April 15, 2007, Joanne Wilkinson, review of The Hindi-Bindi Club, p. 23.
Publishers Weekly, March 12, 2007, review of The Hindi-Bindi Club, p. 38.
Book Bag,http://www.thebookbag.co.uk/ (October 25, 2007), Lesley Mason, review of The Hindi-Bindi Club.
Bookreporter.com,http://www.bookreporter.com/ (October 25, 2007), Bronwyn Miller, review of The Hindi-Bindi Club.
Curled Up with a Good Book,http://www.curledup.com/ (October 25, 2007), Regan Windsor, review of The Hindi-Bindi Club.
Hindi Bindi Web site,http://www.hindi-bindi.com/ (October 25, 2007).
Monica Pradhan's MySpace Profile,http://profile.myspace.com/ (October 25, 2007).