2 states

With an IIT-IIM armour, Bhagat had a flying start to his writing career. "Five Point Someone" tugged all Indians whether he or she cleared IIT-JEE or not. I happened to witness a theatrical rendition by the Madras Players which brought life to the characters, it’s another bonus that most of the artistes were IITians from Madras. Raju Hirani’s screen adaptation of it,"3 Idiots" is much awaited. Being a first time book from a hallowed background saved him enough raw criticism.Justify Full
I didn’t have the guts to read "One Night…" esp after watching Sohail Khan’s screen attempt of the movie. The music was rattling, the characters a lil’ messed up. The personas too mind-bogglingly Bollywood. I have the book, will muster courage to read it before the year ends.

They say once bitten, twice shy. Since the second book’s screen adaptation was so disappointing, I thought I should not even look at "The 3 Mistakes of My Life", pun intended. I made sure I had a copy of the book and will read it in my Yarrow Visited-Unvisited days.

There is something about Chetan Bhagat, he writes with no literary theory in mind and consciously avoids the heavy duty jargon that critics love and hate to problematise. There is no PoMo or PoCo jargon, there is no valorisation, there is no sub-altern. There are simple characters, don’t know if EM Forster’s round and flat characters theory works here, all his characters are lovable, incidentally most regional picks are for comic relief. One sure thing is he writes for a certain gallery that assures him applause almost deafeningly.

His inaugural speech at Symbi last year touched a chord. He has been called on various panels by many minion MBA institutes to bless future Chetan Bhagats. Optimistic but grounded, he is a reliable opinion maker when he says that our MBA institutes might be successful in churning out execs who dream a 7-figure to 8 figure monthly package but the reality is elsewhere.

2 states, literally and metaphorically is what I have been going through for a long, long time. I had picked it up for curiosity’s sake and very bravely recommended to most people by simply reviewing the blurb. But I am glad I did it pretty safely.The latest to be recommended was a senior steward in a Jet Airways fight.

Took me a month to read the first 20 pages, another 1 week to read the next 10 days. By then, I had recommended the book to everyone I knew, I remember buying at least 7 copies as gifts and recommended gifts. And, everyone had finished reading the book many times over, the hilarious pages I mean.

Serious reading happened en route home. I finished the book in less than 36 hours with all social dos and chores in between. Not bad stuff, this time. I like Ananya’s father for his wedding toast of a speech of a united India. I like Krish’s father for reconciling that one can’t live in a time warp, personal reasons included.

The cute stuff that happen at IIT or IIM shocked some of my colleagues at work. Do girls, esp TamBrams do that? Well, what has being TamBram got to do with that? Well, if one wants to call it scandal, then it is. Otherwise, it is no big deal, it is a big generous world there, so puts an insider. I recollected my brief stint for a programme in IIT-G. Nothing noteworthy, yeah but a starved percentage of the population come there, mostly males, to assert mental superiority about pedigree and the blah. The states of ‘before’ and ‘after’ for people in such hallowed institutions is also amusing. One is supposed to encash all the rigour by commanding a premium in dollar packages with MNCs. Some do, some don’t. Some rape, some blackmail and some get arrested. So no big deal about the pedigree, most get lucky actually. Popular campus lingo, these future enggrs find their female compatriots less feminine, therefore, non-males. Very weird and wired explanation, grey matter is totally a male thing.

Times have changed, career conscious Ananyas are everywhere. Some join family business onscreen, like Prachi Desai in "Life Partner". Some quit. Some go abroad for better prospects. If these Ananyas are not family-devoted, they are career bitches, at least branded for sheer lack of a better word or are waiting for their million dollar-crorepati baits.

What part of the book moved me? The parents. Parents become so larger-than-life. There is so much of emotion and things at stake. Ananya and Krish got everything, the DDLJ way. Happies ending.

Some relationships in the book left me thinking. Krish’s and his father‘s relationship, nothing is clear in the beginning. The italised flashback guru-shishya talk brought out the angst buried for years. A tale of abuse, respect lost and gained, trust and implicit faith, most importantly unconditional love. Many things can go wrong and many did between Krish and his father. Father-son bonhomie can either be great or terribly formal and uncomfortable. Personally I know of many male friends who are always ahem-ahem with their fathers. Krish blames his father’s mighty temper for all the wrongs in their family happiness. His mother wept more than he could remember, her defiant spirit is all due to the moral support from her extended family and hopes of a Punjabi bahu with assurance of bridal finery, gifts in the form of petrol pumps and life-long seva would delivering her from her social woes of a life incomplete.

The question is that of abuse. How much of abuse is glorified as chauvinist and paternal? How much of indifference and frustration is given vent out in the form of domestic violence and abuse?

Yeah, the humour is stretched. I don’t know how long Punjabis and Tamilians will tolerate being the butt of most jokes from Khushwant Singh’s days. The melodrama is clich├ęd and Bollywood-ish, too much of north-south spicing up the screen kinda thing, tedious and unbearable at times.

The epilogue is almost plagiarised straight from the last minutes of a Saif Ali Khan movie, when the crowd is clearing a PVR aisle filled with empty cans of Pepsi and butter corn with the credits rolling. Very copied-scripted.

Anyway, good bubblegum read. The only saving grace again, the two fathers.
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