Accompanying me half way through my train journey over two states, this semi-auto-biographical novel 'Two States' by Chetan Bhagat was about his wedding with his South-Indian (read Madrasi) girl-friend with the consent of both families. Probably the first novel in a long time that I finished at one go, plus I am writing about.
Largely realistic, this novel starts off with the protogonist's life starting from IIMA and goes on to many cities including Delhi and Chennai. There are many instances that might irk the South-Indian reader in me (references to South-Indians and generalizing them), but he should be applauded for mocking at the typical Punjabi mannerisms and mentality, as well. This book clearly demonstrates, how an Indian marriage does not only take place between two individuals, but it is also the union of two families. This is handled really well, and I guess such writing comes only with real experience. Though based just 10 years back, the Indian society has changed a lot only in the past couple of years, and truly one needs to applaud the writer and his wife for braving through a lot of awkward situations.
A good light read and quick one too (I finished it in like 3 hours), but truly has all the essentials of a good movie - ample amount of romance, familial pressures, drama, comical encounters and more importantly, a touch of reality!
One thing that I really need to appreciate in Chetan's writing is the use of simple words that are used in day-to-day conversations (including the F-word) and this makes things easily relatable to. Though the father-son relationship becomes a little dramatic towards the end, I like the way the mother-son relationship including the taste of Punjabi greed is handled. Also, the money-thirsty nature of the protagonist (no offense intended) is also well showcased, the way the author apparently is in real life (in his own words). Also, the Tam Brahm situations are something that I see everyday in my family as well. Subtle references to IIT and IIM supremacy may not go down very well with the non-academic crowd, but will surely reach the audience it is targeted to.
Looking forward to read the other novel I bought - The Three Mistakes of my Life. May be on my way back! And also looking forward to Three Idiots, adapted from the author's Five Point Someone!