Love in the Times of Affluenza: Loneliness and lovelessness

Book: Love in the Times of Affluenza

Author: Shunali Khullar Shroff

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Pages: 292;

Price: Rs 299

In fairy tales when a princess is tied in a nuptial knot, her life becomes a permanent paradise.  Spenser writes Amoretti Sequence in this light. Similar are Austen’s concerns in her novels. Contrarily, Shunali Khullar Shroff’s Novel  Love in the time of Affluenza depicts the other side of the story.

The book sheds light on the life of the elite class of Mumbai and exposes their follies and foibles.  The lead protagonist, Natasha Singh resonates with many married women who appear to be rolling in the opulent luxuries but are, in fact, doomed to insipid lives. Undoubtedly, money makes every mare go but it can’t fill those voids that appear in the absence of true love and care.  

Nathasha’s  filthy rich husband can buy her all the material comforts but he has no time to have a fulfilling conversation with his wife. The author aptly takes a dig on the affluent chauvinistic class of men who look upon their wives as lifeless antique pieces of beauty whom they bring home for mere decorative purposes. Here, I am  reminded of Shakespeare’s most vivacious heroine Rosalind who says, “Men are April when they woo, December when they wed.” This post marriage attitudinal shift and lack of warmth at times gives birth to extramarital relationships.  When it comes to such ties, they are viewed with scorn by our sanctimonious society and the label of adultery is attached without tracing the roots of the issue. Natasha’s friend Trisha does commit this moral transgression but if not seen through the prism of  Victorian morality, she can’t  be called in question.  

Ruminating over the moral contours of her friend’s amorous association with some other man, Natasha is haunted with the  hollowness of her own marriage. Her only antidote is socialisation and Page 3 parties. Well off women yoked in loveless wedlocks often resort to diversionary tactics to derive substitute gratification. Though by organising such glitzy get-togethers they remain amidst the  multitude of famous celebrities, their inner loneliness still gnaws at their hearts. Lost in ostentatious glamour Natasha’s life is worth exploring through this excellent work.

Also Read: For the love of a man Book Review: A woman's plight