This post has been self-published on Youth Ki Awaaz by Isha Aggarwal. Just like them, anyone can publish on Youth Ki Awaaz.

Sandhya Menon’s ‘When Dimple Met Rishi’ Reminds You Of Your Teenage Romance

More from Isha Aggarwal

Narrated in first person, Sandhya Menon’s funny and quirky debut, ‘When Dimple Met Rishi’ tells the story of two Indian-American teenagers, who have nothing in common, except their shared pedigree. But what happens when their parents secretly set these opposites to get “arranged” for marriage?

Dimple Shah, a plain looking girl who loathes getting dressed up and wearing make-up, much to the chagrin of her Indian mother, has her life all figured out. Stubborn, talented and ambitious, Dimple’s last desire in life is to get married and settle down. However, like all Indian mothers, her mother’s sole vocation in life is to find the “ideal Indian husband” for her daughter.

But since it’s not the ’60s, but the new millennium, her parents clandestinely set her up with Rishi Patel, hoping for them to fall in love and get married. Not expecting much from her mother when it comes to her career, Dimple Shah is genuinely surprised when her parents allow her to take a summer course for aspiring web developers, Insomnia Con, till she finds out about Rishi Patel.

Rishi Patel, a conventional guy with respect for his culture and tradition, is completely opposite to Dimple Shah. A romantic at heart, he agrees to go along with his parents’ plan and already sees Dimple as his future wife before meeting her. Very much his parents’ son, Rishi does everything his parents expect from him, even to the extent of sacrificing his artistic talent for an engineering degree at MIT. And while Dimple has no desire to fall in love and get arranged, Rishi is very much desirous of being “arranged” with Dimple. But he is also in for a big surprise when he meets Dimple Shah.

Their first meeting turns out to be a disaster, with Dimple throwing coffee all over Rishi and from there the narrative meanders through their lives at Insomnia Con where from hating Rishi at the first sight, Dimple becomes friends with him. Since it is a romantic young adult novel, the major part of the book is about the romantic lives of Rishi and Dimple, but that’s not where the story ends. It is not just about finding the right life partner but also about finding one’s true self which at times gets lost in a cacophony of voices. Dimple becomes a catalyst in Rishi’s life and encourages him to fight for his art and to own up his true self.

The novel also gives the reader a glimpse into the cultural war happening between the immigrant parents who although have left India, but are unable to leave their cultures and traditions behind; and their children who have become acculturated to American life and are more American than Indian. At one point in the narrative, Dimple points out to her mother, ‘“Yeah, but I didn’t come to America,” … “I was born here. This is my home. This is my culture.”

But still, a deep thread of tradition runs throughout the narrative. Rishi, unlike other teenagers, openly embraces his culture and is not ashamed of it, and though, Dimple has mixed feelings about it and debunks parts of her culture especially the marriage part of it, she remains an Indian at heart. And even if the story is largely set in San Francisco, it is thoroughly Indian.

‘When Dimple Met Rishi’ is not a simple love story. The book also deals with serious themes like teenage bullying, the teenage angst at being stuck between their parents’ wishes and between finding their own identity, and why can’t women have it all and why do they always have to choose between love and a career.

Full of teenage drama, romance, and humor, and at times, sarcastic swipes at infamous aunties and overbearing mothers, ‘When Dimple Met Rishi’ has all the elements of a young adult romance. Albeit, Rishi’s character is not completely believable for an eighteen-year-old teenager, he wins over the reader with his charming and goofy personality. The book is not inhabited with cardboard characters and after going through the crises of their own, both of them grow in the course of the narrative.

Recited in simple language, the author has taken an age-old story of – opposites meet, clash, and fall in love – and given it a tweak to make it her own. And though everyone kind of knows the ending, it is the journey which is satisfying with the reader constantly rooting for Dimple and Rishi to make up their mind already and end up with each other. If nothing more, it will jog the memory of the reader to their teenage romance and drama, and the book is worth reading for that if nothing else.

You must be to comment.

More from Isha Aggarwal

Similar Posts

By Mallika Khosla

By Tuba Afreen

By Mallika Khosla

Wondering what to write about?

Here are some topics to get you started

Share your details to download the report.

We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

Share your details to download the report.

We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

Share your details to download the report.

We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

Sign up for the Youth Ki Awaaz Prime Ministerial Brief below