Author : Chetan Bhagat
Five years ago when Five Point Someone came out I quite fell in love with the book and emailed the author. I must have been among the very early readers of that novel because Chetan Bhagat wrote back to me personally inquiring about the book, and we shared a few emails back and forth.. But when hotmail revamped its mail setup increasing its mail space to 1 GB to catch up with Google ,I lost that mail along with many others. By that time Chetan Bhagat’s second, One Night at a Call Center had come out and it gave me no reason to feel bad for losing my correspondence.
However, after reading his latest book, 2 states: The Story Of My Marriage I am almost tempted to write to his office and request them to dig into the archives and see if they can find my mail and send me a copy. For 2 states comes very close to meeting the bar set by first book. Like Five Point Someone ,this book takes place at another holy Mecca of Indian Higher Education: IIM Ahemdabad. Punjabi guy Krish meets Tamil Brahmin Ananya in the canteen at IIM. She is the “best girl” among the very few girls in their batch. A whirlwind campus romance follows. Then boys parents meet the girl’s and disaster ensues. What follows is a quintessentially Indian tale, somewhat exaggerated and stereotypical at times, of the two young lovers trying to convince their distraught families who care unable to fathom why anyone would want to marry outside their community.
Funny and refreshingly unpretentious it never claims to be much more than what it is: a Hindi Masala book equivalent of Bollywood films. Chetan Bhagat takes good natured digs at Tamil Brahmins and Punjabis , often making fun of the differences between the two communities. His rather unsparingly honest description of his previous profession , investment banking makes an interesting read.
However, the story is quite predictable with some of the plot twists actually being very ridiculous. Also, in many interviews Chetan Bhagat has admitted that he thinks of himself as 90% entertainer and 10% reformer. This reformer side shows up in his references to national integration and unity. This depiction however tends to get a little tacky.
Like Five Point Someone, this book also draws a lot from his own life, with Bhagat even discussing the unhappy circumstances of his parents’ marriage. How long will he be able to continue drawing from his life? Not much longer, it seems. Am I going to write to his office? Not yet, but maybe with the release of his next book .
At just 95 bucks a copy it is worth a shot.