Love marriages around the world are simple: Boy loves girl. Girl loves boy. They get married.
In India, there are a few more steps:
Boy loves Girl. Girl loves Boy. Girl’s family has to love boy. Boy’s family has to love girl.
Girl’s Family has to love Boy’s Family. Boy’s family has to love girl’s family.
Girl and Boy still love each other. They get married.
Welcome to 2 States, a story about Krish and Ananya. They are from two different states of India, deeply in love and want to get married. Of course, their parents don’t agree. To convert their love story into a love marriage, the couple have a tough battle in front of them. For it is easy to fight and rebel, but it is much harder to convince. Will they make it? From the author of blockbusters Five Point Someone, One Night @ the Call Center and The 3 Mistakes of My Life, comes another witty tale about inter-community marriages in modern India.
There is nothing left for me to say about this book, considering it was published a zillion years ago and every blogger worth his/her salt has probably reviewed it to death. I have always wanted to read Bhagat’s books since “One Night At The Call Center” and somehow he has been one of those authors whose books I just did not seem to have access to very easily. So, when a friend agreed to loan me this book to read, I jumped at the chance! Since a lot has been said about this book and which also boasts of a recent Bollywood release starring Alia Bhatt and Arjun Kapoor I thought I’d list down what I liked (and not) about Two States
- The language is simple and straightforward and story moves forward at a great pace from page 1
- The author’s sense of humor is evident on almost on every page and there were sections of the book that had me in splits. Now that a winning characteristic in a book of this nature..
- Though exaggerated / fictionalized the author manages to draw the differences between South / North Indian cultures quite well. I had to agree with his inferences regarding us being serious all the time! Even during our weddings! It is quite true that most of us (even to this day) just want to be doctors or engineers and keep studying till we get a PhD and make tons of money and God forbid we fail! We are answerable to all the maamas and maamis, athais and athimbers who will definitely have some grandchild who is better than you in Amayricaa and all we can do would be to hang our heads down and do that walk to the guillotine of shame! Hey! Maybe I can try writing a book too…..( Ok! that might have just been a bad joke)
- I particularly loved the way he dedicated the book to his in-laws. If in-laws were really the kind of parents or maybe close to the characters described in the book it is only right that the book is dedicated to them (Seriously, the FIL in the book gave a touching speech at the reception! I don’t believe something like that has ever happened at least not in any of the weddings I have been witness to!
- In all honesty I had the same love story happening in my extended family (only this case it was not IIM A but another IIM) and the acceptance that the Punjabi groom received from his prospective in-laws was not even close to whats in this story and if you read this book this will worry you!
- I felt that this story was made more beautiful because of the loving son and daughter who did not want to take hasty decisions but went out of their way to do what is right by their parents and other family members.
- It was also interesting to note how a major crux of the story deals with the terrible Indian practice of giving a receiving dowry during Indian weddings, especially arranged marriages and the author has yet again managed to convey the message in a frank manner garnished with humor! Am leaving with you with some lines on this topic from the book at the end of the post which describes the nature and effects of this terrible practice in case you would like to read them….
No matter what people say about Chetan Bhagat these days, the person I visualized while reading this book was someone who came across with loads of sincerity, an Indian first and Punjabi later and of course someone who wanted to change the world with the pen
- Last but not the lease, his daring revelations about the work culture and life at Citibank was particularity interesting to me considering I have spent a great part of my career working with folks in the bank. Bhagat hit the nail on the head when he mentioned how the bank has so many VP designations to soothe the egos of the many MBA’s that they hire and the fact that the VP designation was nothing more than that of a glorified clerk or a junior level officer in a bank!! And the lesser said about the way treat others who are not MBA’s or CA’s or worse do not speak Hindi the better! Kudos to the author or bringing all this out!
A great read! Loved it!! Recommend it!
What??Dowry?? – No, it’s a gift from the brides side! Some lines from an important chapter in the book. My thoughts in blue.
‘What do you do, Duke?’, Ananya asked
‘I am a software engineer’, he said
‘How much do you make’ Ananya said. Duke kept quiet
‘Tell me;, Ananya said in a loud voice
‘10000 a month’, he said in a heavy Punjabi accent
‘Great, I make 25000. Still can you tell me what you have done to deserve a wedding like this? What have you done to deserve a car to be gifted to you?’ He hit the nail on the head with this question don’t you think? I mean the groom doesn’t even earn enough to pay the installments from the car…
‘I, I am the b….boy’s side’, Duke stammered. His family has the right to demand only because he is a guy
‘So?, Have you seem Minti?’, Ananya said. Due nodded
‘You are having an arranged marriage. That is why you are getting a girl like her. If you had to woo her, can you in your dreams have a girlfriend like her?’ Doesn’t get clearer than this! In most cases the men don’t even deserve the women they are getting married to leave alone a free car!
Duke kept quiet as he shifted his largeness from one leg to another.
‘Do you know what Minti’s parents had to go through to do this wedding for you? The car cost two and half years of your salary, Mr. Duke! These 2 parties have thrown them into debt and now you want an Accent? It won’t be your accent, it will be what you managed to wrench out of a helpless father who didn’t want a drama at his daughter’s wedding to turn into a scandal.’
Bingo!! He got a car but was not satisfied as it was not the model that he wanted or was promised and the poor brides parents are in the middle of their daughter’s wedding that might go kaput all because they didn’t have enough money left over after the free gifts, booze, international buffet dinners, flowers from Thailand and more to buy the right car for their future son-in-law!
The less I talk about such topics the better!