Variables of Love
by MK Schiller
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Meena Kapoor knows what life has in store for her. She’s in her senior year at Stanford where she’ll graduate summa cum laude, and then she'll begin her interviews…her marriage interviews. Meena is Indian, and she’s never questioned that she’ll have an arranged marriage like all the generations before her. Not until she meets gorgeous math major Ethan Callahan. Ethan’s sense of humor and free spirit stir feelings in Meena she didn’t know were possible outside of Bollywood movies. It doesn’t hurt that he’s charming and has the uncanny ability to make math sound like poetry, but Meena knows their equation makes no sense in the real world.
Ethan finds himself intrigued by the mysterious, beautiful girl, whose big, brown eyes reflect great pain. His goals are small at first—to make her smile and then to laugh. But he soon wants more, and though Meena is adamant they have no future, he convinces her to share the present. Ethan believes every problem has a solution, but with cultural expectations and family duty among the variables, they will struggle to solve the ultimate equation to find happiness.
Topic: How do you feel about Arranged Marriages in this generation?
This is an interesting question. I think the answer is that they can work. I know it sounds strange to imagine two people who didn’t choose each other falling in love. But I’ve seen it happen first hand. It’s just like any other relationship and it all depends on the participants. Why it works is more complicated. Possibly this has to do with the fact that it is agreed upon in the first place. The emphasis in on practicality, but passion can exist anywhere and so can love.
When I wrote Variables of Love I wasn’t trying to knock arranged marriages in any way. In fact, I think the book explores the positive and negative attributes of such a union. I wanted to show that love does conquer all other obstacles, even ones that are completely ingrained.
There is a scene in the book where Meena and her friend, Rachael, discuss the importance of words. Meena discovers that in her culture there are more words for family than anything else. I think that alone speaks volumes about why these relationships can and do work. As the world modernizes though, the concept has become more westernized. In Variables of Love, the heroine struggles to reconcile her westernized upbringing with her cultural values. I think it’s something that many first and second generation Americans go through.
There will always be a form of arranged marriage in India and other countries. Although it’s not considered as socially acceptable in the westernized words, if it’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s that I don’t judge love. Love is the one thing that sets us free, but bonds us in the human experience.
I am a hopeless romantic in a hopelessly pragmatic world. I have a full time life and two busy teenagers, but in the dark of night, I sit by the warm glow of my computer monitor, and attempt to conjure up passionate heartwarming stories with plenty of humor.
I started imagining stories in my head at a very young age. In fact, I got so good at it that friends asked me to create plots featuring them as the heroine and the object of their affection as the hero. We'd spend hours on the phone while I came up with a series of unrealistic, yet tender events, which led to a satisfying conclusion. You've heard of fan fiction... this was friend fiction.
Even with that, it took many years to realize I could produce an actual full-length book that readers would enjoy. I try to make my stories humorous, realistic, with flawed but redeeming characters. I hope you enjoy my stories and always find The Happily Ever After in every endeavor.
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