2 States by Chetan Bhagat
Not that I admire works of Chetan Bhagat’s works, but still I wanted to read this book out of curiosity especially after a movie has been made out of it. What interested me of course is the story of it being two lovers from different states getting married with their parents blessings. I have read two earlier books of Chetan Bhagat, One Night @the call centre and Five Point Something (which got adopted into Film in Hindi as 3 Idiots and Tamil as Nanban).
In 2 states the protagonist Krish ails from a Punjabi family in Delhi and his love interest Ananya from a TamBram (Tamil Brahmin) family in Chennai. This story starts too starts at college life, like Five Point Something started in IIT, this one at IIM-A. Both the institutes being where Chetan Bhagat has studied and has first hand experience. The characters and background resembling Bhagat’s real life adds to the excitement.
I enjoyed reading about Chennai of 90s and its peculiarities in the book, though some were stereotypes. I couldn’t get the image out of head of Ananya giving a smooch to Krish in Rathna Stores of T.Nagar. I have lived many years opposite to the shop in Ranganathan Street during 80s & early 90s and I can imagine the scene that this would have caused if happened for real. You can tell a nuclear bomb got dropped in that conservative atmosphere and chances are that some will believe you, but no one will believe this of happening ever. Similarly there is good humour of Bhagat at display when he takes a self dig at his community when Krish says “I ordered paneer pao–bhaji with extra butter and a lassi on the side. Nothing soothes an upset Punjabi like dairy products” and when he observes “It is cruel to keep Punjabis away from their food at a wedding, especially when most of them had no stake in the car anyway”. Bhagat captures Tambram’s obsession with IIT when he says “Ananya had told me that my IIT tag was the only silver lining in my otherwise status in their family”.
The book starts fun but loses steam pretty quickly. I felt the characters to lack depth, the scenes familiar to his previous books and the parents resistance stale. The plot reminded me of Bollywood Gold standard on Romance DDLJ (Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge) and few Tamil films including Poovellam Kettuppar starring Jyothika & Suriya and Kanave Kalaiyadhe starring Simran & Murali several times. The relatives at both sides and Krish’s father aloofness from family all were cliche for comfort.