The Marriage Bureau for Rich People
The Marriage Bureau for Rich People is based on a book with the same title written by Farahad Zama. I happened to read his book when I saw it on Amazon. I read lots of books that take place in India. I used to live there, and I loved it. Any book that takes me there for awhile is bound to find itself on my reading list. This book, though, is special. It has memorable and delightful characters, a compelling story, an exotic setting, funny scenes, and sad ones too. It is the perfect opera book. As I read, I kept hearing the characters come alive in my head, and they were singing. I wrote to Farahad and asked his permission to use his stories as the basis for the new opera. He agreed, and here we are!
Here’s the synopsis.
Several years into his retirement, Mr. Ali grows bored, so he opens a marriage bureau, where the city’s well-to-do can come to find the perfect match for their offspring based on their unique requirements as to caste, religion, dowry amount, age, and height. Ali’s assistant, Aruna, comes from a family on the verge of financial ruin. Her family had arranged a match for her, but it collapsed when their finances deteriorated. She is now in her mid-twenties and almost considered ‘on the shelf’. Her uncle, Shastry, tries desperately to find another match for her, while her father insists he doesn’t have the money for a wedding or dowry.
One of the clients with especially picky parents, is a handsome young doctor, Ramanujam. His family is set on marrying him to a wealthy socialite, but Ram has eyes only for the impoverished and well-educated Aruna. Aruna and Ram fall in love and want to marry, but both their families are opposed to a “love match”. Mr. Ali proposes an elegant solution where everyone wins.