Heir to his father’s Mumbai business empire, Ved Mehra has money, looks, and status. He is also living as a closeted gay man. Thirty-eight, lonely, still reeling from a breakup, and under pressure from his exasperated mother, Ved agrees to an arranged marriage. He regrettably now faces a doomed future with the perfectly lovely Disha Kapoor.
Then Ved’s world is turned upside down when he meets Carlos Silva, an American on a business trip in India.
As preparations for his wedding get into full swing, Ved finds himself drawn into a relationship he could never have imagined – and ready to take a bold step. Ved is ready to embrace who he is and declare his true feelings regardless of family expectations and staunch traditions. But with his engagement party just days away, and with so much at risk, Ved will have to fight for what he wants – if it’s not too late to get it.
Rating: Narration – A-; Content – B+
Farhad J. Dadyburjor’s The Other Man is one of those audiobooks I picked up on a whim – I hadn’t heard of the author (I’ve since learned he’s been an entertainment and lifestyle journalist for over twenty years) and was similarly in the dark about the narrator, but the premise of the story appealed – and I’m pleased to report that this is one of those times when a gamble paid off, because I enjoyed the story very much and Ariyan Kassam’s narration is excellent.
Ved (pronounced to my Western ears as “Wade”) Mehra seems to have it all. At thirty-eight, he’s handsome, well-off and high-status; he runs his father’s multi-million electronics corporation and as the Mehra’s only child, will one day inherit it. On the surface, he has everything a man would want – but that’s only an illusion. Life as a gay man in a very conservative society where homosexuality is still illegal (the book is set around the time when the law against homosexuality was eventually repealed – which wasn’t until 2018) is difficult and often disheartening; Ved can’t live openly and honestly, yet he can’t face the idea of coming out to his parents, knowing what a dreadful disappointment it would be to them to discover he isn’t the perfect Indian son. He had thought, a few years back, that he’d found someone to share his life with (albeit in secret), until Akshay announced he was bowing to the inevitable and going ahead with the marriage that had been arranged for him. The break-up was four years ago, and Ved has never found anyone else he wanted to spend time with, instead filling the void with endless work and having meaningless hook-ups when he wants sex.
You can read the rest of this review at AudioGals.