In Two Nations – The Story of My Marriage, Chetan Bhagat does an absolutely fantastic job of dissecting the psychology of a modern Indian middle-class family and brilliantly telling in narratives the real issues people go through when socializing. / creed / religious / state speaking. Relationships build. Lives are turned upside down. Tremendous efforts are made to achieve even a semblance of acceptance. Relationships severed. Sometimes they remain broken and sometimes (thankfully) things are smoothed out and in the end love triumphs, as Bhagat’s characters in Two States attest.
The book opens very cleverly with the story’s protagonist – a Punjabi boy named Krish Malhotra, in a shrinking office, doing Devdas, desperately trying to come to terms with the apparent loss of the love of his life – a Brahmin Tamil girl named Ananya Swaminathan. It then goes into flashback mode, where the love story “Where All Love Stories Begin” begins – with Krish and Ananya meeting for the first time in the chaos counter at IIMA, where they are both fellow students – each with their own ambitions. Own ambitions and driven by their own reasons.
Krrish, who shares a horribly tenuous relationship with his father, also has to contend with an overzealous mother, who, tied to a fleet of cars, a house and money as dowry, wants him to marry the first Punjabi girl who comes his way. The Malhotra family is as dysfunctional as any family can be, with Mr. and Mrs. Malhotra on non-speaking terms, Mr. Malhotra with a fiery temper and unhindered rage and myriads of Mrs. Malhotra’s meddling relatives.
On the other hand, the playful and daring Ananya comes from a hungry traditional and well-educated Tamilian Brahmin family in Chennai, which is a complete contrast to her rebellious and outgoing personality. Born to a quiet and reserved father, she is closest to him, while she and her mother share a frustrating if interesting relationship. She also has a bookworm from a brother, whose only goal in life seems to be to become more of a bookworm and possibly graduate from the best educational institutions in the country.
In the midst of turbulent family issues, angry professors, truckloads of study materials and raging hormones, the two meet, fall in love, and many conversations, study periods, chicken and lots of tea. When they graduate and accept their own placements, their relationship progresses to one of total commitment but against no acceptance from the respective families.
Bhagat then indulges in knitting and weaving his way through their own lives and the various attempts both make to please the other’s family. After so much emotional turmoil and breakups, he gave the story a wonderful turn that I definitely wasn’t expecting. Suffice it to say, the novel ends with a happy Tamil-Punjabi marriage – a scenario of exotic North meeting South, which brings a warming feeling to the heart and a smile to the face.
As an author, Chetan Bhagat has risked some language that might not align with the older ones, but then, the book is aimed at the youth of India anyway. And they call him. He is quickly becoming a symbol of youth and his attempts to effect change in parochial mentality among our people, his appeal to young Indians to marry outside their caste to enhance feeling Indian and not being attached to one’s caste, promises some very positive change in the province. Based on his own life, Bhagat has been somewhat daring by not limiting himself in his assertions about the sexual throngs of youth and his quips about the Punjab and Tamil communities, as well as his parents, in-laws and Citibank. But that’s the real reason the original story has a real, honest touch. This is something every reader will appreciate.
Once the reader starts the book, it will be difficult for him/her to put it down, and it will most likely push the reader to read Bahgat’s previous works as well, namely “One Night at the Call Center”, “3 Mistakes in My Country”. life” and “five points someone.”
Keep Shaitan – your loyal fans are waiting!