We have probably read quite a number of novels by foreign authors. But something that is most appealing is when we can relate to our life the most. And Chetan Bhagat is a writer who gives novels that relates to our lives some way or the other. Of all the books he has written so far, this I would say will be more appealing to a specific group of Indians, the Punjabis', the Tamizhs' and IIM-A grads. I was excited to read the synopsis, and the umpteen number of comments that the author received for his latest book "2 States - The Story Of My Marriage". And the more surprising part is that he has dedicated this book to his in-laws himself having been in a situation similar to the storyline in the book.
Too much being already written about the book, I assume this is just yet another review. There are some notable areas of the book to which some of us can relate to:
2. Tamizh Brahmins (Non-brahmins can also equally relate to it, in my opinion)
3. Punjabis' ( I guess North Indians can generally relate to it; I am not sure though)
4. Citibank (Not sure what it is to be actually in Citibank, though)
The plot begins with life at IIM-A. Krish (Krish Malhotra) and Ananya (Ananya Swaminathan) begin their journey at IIM-A. Ananya is described as beautiful and attractive who has already received 10 proposals even at the start of her life at IIMA. Krish and Ananya meet up, become friends, and then fall in love with each other. Life at IIMA has the usual college sequence. Krish secures a job at Citibank(posted to Chennai) and Ananya at HLL (Chennai).
As Chetan has rightly portrayed in this novel, in India, marriage is not just a union of two hearts, but the union of two families. So here they are struggling a battle to win the hearts of both the parents. It is an interesting journey which the couple take to reach their goal.
The author has rightly described the way a North Indian would feel about South India. And the mindset of a South Indian home is just perfect in its description. Krish was diplomatic in dealing with Ananya's family and winning each of their hearts. The Punjabi families' description was fun to read, but I could hardly acknowledge the description to the truth behind me being a Tamilian.
Something that made me think was the way the people think. India would become lot better if inter-religious marriages can happen. A change in the mindset of people is a definite necessity today. There is a lot of importance given to complexion and money in the north while I felt these are not just the only two elements that will decide happiness in a family. The South Indians are more worried about the culture and their community being modified.
This book as many have already pointed out, is in a ready-to-be-made movie format. If only this could be made into a successful movie, people might end up learning what exactly is lacking in India that would make it a better country to live in. Living amidst numerous cultures and being tolerant towards each other is good; people should also realize that we are 'One India' and love is definitely above location/religion/appearance. True Love can win over any hard circumstances, if determined.
'We are Indians first' and only then S.Indians/N.Indians and Hindus/Sikhs etc. When India wakes up to this truth and lives together as a nation readily accepting other religions/culture amongst the families themselves, India will rise up to the status of being a truly secular country.
The book brings in this point from Krish and Ananya's conversation every now and then. The novel ends on a positive note, saying the future will live in a state named 'India' and not Punjab or Tamil Nadu. This is the kind of attitude that every Indian should develop.
The book is for light entertaining reading. Grab a cup of coffee, sit on your favorite couch, relax with a bit of music and get ready for the latest youth entertainer that Chetan has given us.
Chetan has become one of my favorite writers now given the fact that he writes stuff that we can personally relate to our lives, be it college education, hostel life, or approaching parents seeking for acceptance of love and being 'Indian'.