Friday, November 13, 2009

2 States - Book Review.

All right, as I promised here is the book review for 2 States by Chetan Bhagat.
Like all Chetan Bhagat books, this one too is priced at Rs. 95, and has been flying off the shelves. Almost!

To begin with, this book is partly autobiographical. At least that’s what the author says. So its hard to predict what actually happened to him in real life, and which part is total fiction. In any case, the story revolves around Krish and his girlfriend Ananya. Both batchmates at IIM-A(they even share the same room-weird). Both are madly in love and want to marry. But what is the impediment? They belong to two different states. Krish is Punjabi and Ananya is a Tamil Brahmin. So naturally their parents object to their marriage according to conservative Indian traditions and beliefs- blah blah, and thus begins the tale of convincing, separating and re-uniting. With some masala, and fun poured in, to make a typical Chetan Bhagat novel.

Don’t go expecting for any great literary stuff. Far from it. The story is essentially nonsense, but still manages to keep you hooked till the last page. But throughout the book, one gets the feeling that he/she is watching a C-grade Bollywood flick, where hardly anything of importance takes place, and we don’t even notice where the story begins and where it ends. The book also has many loopholes and features many illogical aspects. Basically that’s what you will get, when you take Hari from Five Point Someone, rechristen or rename him as Krish to get a new character with old traits. Ie the same IIT Delhi Mechanical Engineer who lusted after his professor’s daughter.

The book is quite funny than its predecessor, 3 Mistakes of my Life. There are quite a few hilarious moments (Krish blackmailing Ananya’s brother, getting up and running away during his marriage, making his boss prepare his coffee, etc) but there is a equal share of hodgepodge as well. Ostensibly, Chetan has made fun of both the Punjabi and Tamilian communities, pointing out the subtle idiosyncrasies. Now let us look at some of the negative aspects/loopholes of this novel, and of Chetan’s works in general.

i) How come the guy, no matter how ugly or average looking he is, manage to get a beautiful girl all the time? If you look into statistics, around 70% of Indian men(youth) are single, 29% are committed to average looking or poor looking girls, and less than 1% hook up with really pretty gals. So how come the book’s protagonist always seem to fall in the rarest of rarest category, ie the less than 1% one? And why on earth does the most beautiful girl always fall for an average guy in the book? Why can’t it be the other way around? Maybe because the story would not be too spicy then.

ii) According to Chetan, youth (life) seems to be about drinking, smoking, sex, and even drugs. The way he writes almost makes it feel that all of those are perfectly normal, and innocuous. Many guys feel that if they indulge in all those activities, it will make them look cool and feel better little realizing about the negative ramifications. Worst of all is the fact, that most of the girls have been given manly characteristics. They want to smoke, drink and indulge in sex. I would like to stress that very, very few girls (Indian) are actually like that and the ones who are, lack morality.

iii) There are far too many co-incidences. But I suppose that’s true for most authors. For example, in this novel, how come Krish’s dad repair his relationship with Ananya and their parents, even though both(Krish and Dad) hated each other? How come a Tamilian Brahmin girl from a decent vegetarian cum teetotaler family, crave for beer and chicken? How on earth did nobody say anything when a guy and a girl stay in the same room in a hostel? Surely there are some rules to be followed, right? Plus there are many other minor illogical incidences as well, like how come a guy who screwed up his entire life in IIT, manage to land up in IIM-A of all places? But they can be ignored, considering the work is mainly fiction.

On the whole, I would give this book a ‘5 out of 10’. And I will include it in the ‘Time Pass’ category. If you are feeling bored with nothing much to do, go ahead and read it. But I don’t feel that its worth a second time read. Go read some real fiction or literary work.


Bhasker said...

It seems are looking for too much from a noval...and if this book was so boring then I think wouldnt have been able to complete the book.

I have read the complete book and I found it interesting and entertaining..just read it and enjoy it..

If you really are searching actuals, facts and message to society then you have to select such books...

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