Skip to main content

Book Review - One Indian Girl by Chetan Bhagat



With 'One Indian Girl', CB breaks new ground. He writes in the voice of a woman, he talks about the challenges the Indian society, the Great Indian Family, the workplace keep throwing at modern urban Indian women, and how the protagonist battles against all of this and also, "her own inner voice at times". The last is a very clever and in this context, very successful writing ploy. CB maintains an almost parallel thread where the inner voice of the girl, brought up in a conservative, archaic environment seeped in ridiculous traditions, is often in conflict with the decisions her learned, logical and rational mind takes.
In some sections of the book, I see CB taking a VERY mature and evolved tone of writing - in sharp contrast to some of his earlier books. The couple of sequences (one in her US apartment and another in her Hong Kong apartment) where the girl stands for her dignity and her values, even at the prospect of her dreams and her love being shattered, were VERY convincing. I loved the dialogues, and the nuances and body languages that CB portrays in those scenes.
However, the story does have its stereotypes. The Bengali boy is predictably in a 'creative' profession, miserly, communist in his outlook, not ambitious and unsure about where he wants to go in life. The corporate honcho at 45 is salt-and-paper but super-fit and sexy, has a wife and children tucked away while he sleeps with the girl at work. The geek working in FB of course has a side-parting, agrees to an arranged marriage and looks up to his would-be bride to get his nerdy existence moving and shaking. And of course, the DDLJ-ish ploy that each of these men adopts to wrench her away from the 'mandap'.
Also, the book takes on a very frothy, almost comical, tone when these men land up at the wedding and that did not go well for me, especially after the very evolved and intense writing about these individual relationships.
But, the stereotypes notwithstanding, this definitely, is a break-out novel from CB and a step in the right direction towards the next level of CB-Lit.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Book Review - Poems by Subhadip Mukherjee

Ernest Hemingway said, “There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.” Reading the poetry of Subhadip Mukherjee in his book ‘ ছেঁড়া চিন্তার Scribbles’ (Offtrack Publishers, co-authored by Dr. Kausik Ghosh), I am convinced that he is bleeding. And that’s good news. Subhadip is a nagorik kobiyal. His poems hold mirror to the stifling urban life with its rat race, with its mindless pursuit of  materialistic ambitions, and with its consumerism. নাগরিক ব্যস্ততা নানা জটিলতা... দাশু বারবার কিস্তিমাত He mocks the same judgemental urban society right in his introduction when he says: যদি তাকে চিনে থাকো যদি তাকে জেনে থাকো Boss, বেশী . মিশোনা তার সাথে সামান্য নেশা হবে ... তুমিও " খারাপ " হবে দেরি হবে রোজ রাত্তিরে Subhadip’s poems paint love in its myriad hues – from extreme euphoria to brooding despondency. Subhadip depicts the unadulterated purity of love when he says: তুই ক্লাস নাইনৈর খাতার

The Sinners: Extract #1

  Aarti was with Vikram in her one-bedroom flat. It had been raining for quite some time - the dirt washed away, street lights reflected on the wet roads. There were distant rumbles in the evening sky, sounding almost ominous. Very few cars sped down the empty road below. The room was half-lit by a single lamp on the study desk.   It was just the two of them inside the flat. They had returned a while back after dining at the Marriott in Juhu.   “I’ve been missing you for days, Vikram! I don’t remember when we met last,” Aarti’s voice rose a couple of notches, the resentment in her tone pronounced. “And when we met today after weeks, we ended up fighting.”   There were beads of sweat on Aarti’s temples and above her lips. She was visibly tense. There was a bad taste in her mouth, not the kind you carry home after a dinner at the Marriott. Vikram tried to pull her closer but Aarti freed herself and walked away towards the desk. She looked away, trying to hide the tears that were th

Book Review - Ajaya: Roll of the Dice by Anand Neelakantan

Ajaya: Epic of the Kaurava Clan by Anand Neelakantan published by Platinum Press (Leadstart Publishing) brings a unique perspective to the story of Mahabharata. In his introductory note, Neelakantan sets the premise of his work and is compellingly convincing in his characterization of Suyodhana, more (in)famously referred to as Duryodhana in popular lore, when he draws the reader’s attention to his unwavering determination to fight for his belief, his bravery and his strong personality. Neelakantan calls out incidents such as Suyodhana’s willingness to challenge the prevailing caste system by making Karna the king of Anga; his feelings for Ekalavya; his gallantry in taking on the Pandavas. At the same time, Neelakantan depicts him as a fallible human being, in sharp contrast with his cousins. Neelakantan’s storytelling is lucid and he creates powerful imagery. Right from the ‘visually rich’ and dramatic entry of Bhishma into the palace of Gandhara to walk away with the princess Gandha