Boredom from resting at home and jetlag caused me to sift through the collection of books and pick up the first one that caught my eyes. “2 States by Chetan Bhagat”- I was pretty surprised to find that one, wondering who read CB in my family (except me of course). Perhaps someone in the family had borrowed it from someone. The last one I read (One night at the call center) was a disaster. Anyway, here are my thoughts after reading the book. I am not starting the usual review with an introduction to the plot because am sure most of you have read it, and those who haven’t aren’t missing much.
1. How much of literary writing CB does is debatable, but the guy sure knows his Unique Selling Points. Concoct any love story, throw in lots of IIT and IIM words in it, add some more of racial divide, specifically the North India – South India divide, put in a struggling love story and people are bound by curiosity to pick up a copy. Spend the first few chapters mocking Tamilians till they are fuming, and then write the next part of the book mocking the Punjabis. Each effect nullifies the other. Eventually it will end in peace and harmony. Everyone will realize their racial narrow-mindedness and bigotry. And they will live and reproduce happily ever after.
2. I think the non-IIT/IIM people read CB to get a perspective of the life at an IIT/IIM, and the IIT/IIM people read CB to see if what he writes about these institutes make sense. Nevertheless, there was too much of unnecessary IIM references in the book. Okay, they went to the best B-school, we get the point. So?
3. Krish Malhotra’s father’s character wasn’t a very believable one.
4. His books are totally Ekta Kapoor and Bollywood material. Throw in some soft porn and it’s perfect material for a Mills n Boon novel. I wonder which Bollywood director is going to make a movie out of this next.
5. Very clichéd story and clichéd writing. I might as well have read the first line in every page and known what was coming.
6. Makes a superb light and fast read, have to give you that. Very simple writing, and although I didn’t feel as ecstatic as I’d feel after reading Jhumpa Lahiri, I did find many lines hilarious. “You definitely have to get noticed, you don't have to do the work. That's how corporate works, everyone knows it”. "Pretty girls behave best when you ignore them. Of course, they have to know you are ignoring them, for otherwise they may not even know you exist."
7. Extremely predictable characters straight out of a Karan Johar movie. Even the names (Krish Malhotra) are very KJo-ish.
8. I wonder what his next book would be about, after dealing with issues of college, job, and marriage. Maybe something on the lines of how to raise kids on B-school principles? A story about start-ups? Maybe a love story taking life from a grad school in the US? A book on joint families and arranged marriages? Any idea?
Overall I will not highly recommend the book, though I will not claim it is a wasted effort either. I can see a certain group of readers who would be attracted to it – the one’s going through the travails of inter-caste marriage, especially if it is a North-South divide, and of course aspiring IITians and IIMites.