I received “2 states: The Story of My Marriage” as a birthday gift. I have read all of Chetan’s books before and was happy to have this one also. But somehow for months the book lay on my table unread with a pile of other books. Then last Monday, as I was arranging those books my eyes fell on this book and I started reading it.
I finished the book in two days, not a feat at all considering the length of the book (only 294 pages), and of course, it being Chetan Bhagat’s books- one of the accomplished story tellers of our time.
From the prologue itself the book carries the signature mark of Chetan, that same style of writing which intrigues the reader and takes him in its folds. I think “unputdownable” is the apt word.
The story is set against the backdrop of IIMA where a Punjabi boy, Krish meets Ananya, a Tamil Brahmin and they fall in love.
Like in his previous novels here also Chetan raises some pertinent questions about our education system where subjects are crammed into complex mathematical equations to be mugged up by some of the best brains of the country just to earn good grades which translates into fat pay packages. Everything is measured in terms of money and why not? That’s what the young generation is taught by their parents.
Krish’s mother places high value on big houses, luxury cars and want to possess those at any cost-even by marrying off her son against his will. All of Krish’s elder relatives take notice of Ananya when they come to know about her salary.
Hey, if this seems like serious stuff then wait. All the stereotype ideas and social customs and norms are taken potshots at by Chetan but suggestively. On the surface you have a racy and sweet love story in which Krish and Ananya try to coax their mothers to accept their relationship. Even though Krish takes up a job in Chennai to woo Ananya’s family yet things do not turn as they have planned and the parents do not approve of their marriage.
Chetan is a master story teller. The way he gives minute details of lifestyles of Punjabi and Tamil households is praiseworthy. Add to it all his tongue-in-cheek comments which leave you laughing all the way. Krish’s mother keeps on referring to Ananya as “Madrasi girl”, much to the annoyance of Krish.
Chetan’s books always create feel good factors. So at the end an abusive and insensitive father changes dramatically and the boy and girl get married with much fanfare which is described hilariously.
I have always felt that Chetan is heavily influenced by Hindi films. His story lines, the narrative and the visual effect that he creates resemble films that Bollywood churns out in scores every year and is lapped up by the audience.
I think this is where Chetan scores. He understands the psyche of the urban Indian youth so deeply that he never fails. This makes him the most popular Indian writer of present times.
I felt that the Chennai episode was a big dragged, but there were funny incidents which give insights into the Tamil lifestyle and their view about others.
At the end the feel good factor prevails and as you finish reading the book you will find yourself smiling. That’s what counts, doesn’t it?