It’s a real pleasure to be staying in with Ritu Bhathal today to celebrate her latest book Marriage Unarranged as I’ve met Ritu in real life and she’s lovely! My thanks to her for inviting me to be part of this blog tour.
Staying in with Ritu Bhathal
Hi Ritu. Welcome to Linda’s Book Bag. Thank you for agreeing to stay in with me.
Thank you so much for having me, Linda. I am nervously excited!
I think we might just have guessed, but tell me, which of your books have you brought along to share this evening and why have you chosen it?
Today, I have brought my new book, Marriage Unarranged. This truly is my book baby, having lovingly created it over the last twenty years. It has reached adult status, age-wise, and now it is time for it to grow wings and fly the nest. Tomorrow, in fact. 9th February 2020 is the release date.
Oh. Happy publication day for tomorrow Ritu! I love that child metaphor you use about getting Marriage Unarranged to publication. So, what can we expect from an evening in with Marriage Unarranged?
An evening in with Marriage Unarranged will send you on a little journey of your own, visiting India, through Aashi’s eyes, with a look at a slice of India, based here in the UK, in Birmingham.
How exciting. I’m off to India again in March so this could be just the book for me.
You’ll meet a whole host of characters, from Aashi, our main girl, and her protective family, to Kiran, her best friend, and a few others too.
It is a genre I have coined a phrase for – Chickpea Curry Lit – Chick Lit with an Indian twist. You’ll find culture, romance, laughs, and quite possibly, you might learn something new.
That’s just brilliant – Chickpea Curry Lit really needs to catch on!
Oh, and I can’t guarantee it being just an evening… as one of my readers mentioned, “Ritu, do you know what? YOU WROTE A BOOK!!!!! And not just any book, a book that I stayed up past my bedtime reading!”
Now, I don’t want to steal anyone’s sleep, but that particular quote made my week, and I created a meme of it to pin up and encourage myself to carry on writing!
I’m not surprised. You must be delighted with that feedback Ritu.
What else have you brought along and why?
Well, I feel it would only be fitting for me to have brought along an Indian themed set of snacks, and music, so for tonight, I have brought my jeera spiced chicken wings, samosas (mild, not overly spicy, provided by my sister in law), homemade pakoras (thank you, mum in law), and some gulab jamuns for something sweet (they are my mum’s recipe). For a truly Indian experience, there would have to be real masala chai, as drunk by the characters in the book, during their trip to India!
If you’re going to bring food like that Ritu, you can come again. I love Indian meals.
You can cook the chicken wings yourself Linda. Here’s the recipe:
Recipe for Jeera Chicken
20 pieces of chicken (wings)
Fresh red chillis
A Little Natural Yoghurt
Honestly, it is so simple, and really tasty!
- Add the butter and oil to a wok or large pan and allow to cook together. Both fats together stop each other from burning,
- Once hot add around two teaspoons of cumin, ginger, garlic, chillis and salt. Allow to cook for a few minutes.
- Add the chicken, stirring so all the pieces are coated with the spices.
- Add a tablespoon of natural yoghurt to allow the chicken to keep its moistness.
- When the chicken is almost cooked, add around two teaspoons of garam masala and a few squirts of lemon juice.
- Allow the chicken to cook thoroughly.
It’s actually my husband who does most of the cooking these days so I’ll pass this on. We have some chillis from our allotment in the freezer that will come in handy.
The music would be early 2000s Bollywood tracks, and Bhangra – It’s never quiet in my life! Here’s a track from Kaho Na Pyaar Hai, the film mentioned in the book.
It’s certainly got that epic Bollywood feel to it hasn’t it?
India is a wonderful place, filled with culture and colour, so here are a couple of photos from a trip I took out there, a couple of years before the book is set.
They look great Ritu and remind me of being in Mumbai – that’s the Haji Ali Durgah mosque behind you isn’t it?
It is Linda!
It’s been lovely spending this evening with you Ritu. Thank you for staying in with me. You pour the masala chai and I’ll let readers know a bit more about Marriage Unarranged:
started ended with that box…
Aashi’s life was all set.
Or so she thought.
Like in the Bollywood films, Ravi would woo her, charm her family and they’d get married and live happily ever after.
But then Aashi found the empty condom box…
Putting her ex-fiancé and her innocence behind her, Aashi embarks upon an enlightening journey, to another country, where vibrant memories are created, and unforgettable friendships forged.
Old images erased, new beginnings to explore.
And how can she forget the handsome stranger she meets? A stranger who’s hiding something…
Marriage Unarranged is available for purchase here.
About Ritu Bhathal
Ritu Bhathal was born in Birmingham in the mid-1970s to migrant parents, hailing from Kenya but with Indian origin. This colourful background has been a constant source of inspiration to her.
From childhood, she always enjoyed reading. This love of books is credited to her mother. The joy of reading spurred her on to become creative in her writing, from fiction to poetry. Winning little writing competitions at school and locally encouraged her to continue writing.
As a wife, mother, daughter, sister, and teacher, she has drawn on inspiration from many avenues to create the poems that she writes.
A qualified teacher, having studied at Kingston University, she now deals with classes of children as a sideline to her writing!
Ritu also writes a blog, www.butismileanyway.com, a mixture of life and creativity, thoughts and opinions, which was awarded first place in the Best Overall Blog Category at the 2017 Annual Bloggers Bash Awards, and Best Book Blog in 2019.
Ritu is happily married and living in Kent, with her Hubby Dearest, and two children, not forgetting the fur baby Sonu Singh.
There’s more with these other bloggers too: