Wednesday, October 05, 2016

Book Review: One Indian Girl by Chetan Bhagat

Introduction
  • ISBN: 9788129142146
  • Genre: Fiction
  • Publishers: Rupa Publishing House
  • Price: Rs.176/- (I got this book from the publisher for a review)
Hi, I'm Radhika Mehta and I'm getting married this week. I work at Goldman Sachs, an investment bank. Thank you for reading my story. However, let me warn you.

You may not like me too much. One, I make a lot of money. Two, I have an opinion on everything. Three, I have had a boyfriend before. OK, maybe two.

Now if all this was the case with a guy, one might be cool with it. But since I am a girl these three things I mentioned don’t really make me too likeable, do they?
Behind the book

Source: Goodreads.com


About the Author

Chetan Bhagat writes op-ed columns for English and Hindi newspapers, including Times of India and Dainik Bhaskar, focusing on youth and issues based on national development. Bhagat is also a motivational speaker and has given talks in leading MNCs and other institutions. He quit his international investment banking career in 2009, to devote his entire time to writing.

In 2008, The New York Times called Bhagat "the biggest selling English language novelist in India’s history". Bhagat, a graduate of Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Delhi and IIM Ahmedabad, is seen more as a youth icon than as an author.


Me thinks

Before I begin the review I would like to make a confession. I stopped reading Chetan Bhagat after 2 States. Somehow none of his next books seemed to appeal to me. When I was approached to review this book more than anything what struck me was the hard work the author had put behind it in terms of getting himself waxed and other such things just to be able to write it from a woman's perspective. The catch word being "feminism" here I wanted to read the book to know his thoughts on it.

The first few pages were a bit dull but slowly the story did pick up pace. Sadly by page 80 I had almost guessed the ending (and let me add here - I was bang on!) Coming back to the story there were lot of things which did not appeal to me. But then the first thing that came to my mind is, if this is feminism, am I a feminist? I have been an investment banker and the portions where he deals with a hot shot career for the leading lady Radhika in Goldman Sachs were hugely connectable for me. There are no surprises here as given the author's previous stint as a banker himself he does perfect justice to these portions.

Indian society, its norms, beliefs and the stereo-typical behaviour of parents is also as expected, something he had mastered in 2 States. Unfortunately though he was able to make me laugh on those nitty-gritties (he still does, that book is my go-to book when my mind needs a good unwinding) he failed in this book. Radhika's mom comes across more as annoying rather than funnily endearing at many places. For someone who has lived in 4 different countries - India (Delhi), US(New York), Hong Kong and UK (London) and has an enviable list of qualifications, Radhika comes across to me as someone who is highly unsure about everything around her including her ownself. But then the fact remains she is believable. Age, qualification and maturity have nothing to do with each other. They can exist without the other.

Some scenes seemed too far fetched to be true but then I would excuse them under the category of creative liberty by the author. I somehow felt the depth of emotions were missing overall. Be it in Radhika's relationships with other men, or with her own parents / siblings there is no emotional connect that could make a reader feel for her. I wanted to feel for Radhika, it could be anger or hurt or perhaps pity but I ended up feeling nothing for her.

What works for me - his easy to connect style of writing in both the language and ofcourse descriptions. He likes to keep it simple and that reflects in every scene including the intimate moments. I am glad he has stuck to that for that is his USP according to me. He highlights the plight of such high flying executives by showing their lonely existence very closely. Radhika has no friends she can reach out to and her life revolves around work and home, nothing more... nothing less. I have seen such existences and always wondered how cruel is it to not live despite having all the means to lead a life you always wanted to. The ending was something that left me with a smile.Though the whole book has been propositioned as a feminist novel but it is only in the last few pages that you see the real feminism in the book. It was enjoyable to see Radhika finally take control of everything including her life. Till then she seems more like a confused child who is lost in a crowded fair. There were many places where I kept wondering how is she a Vice President at work if she is so confused!

Chetan Bhagat has reached a stature where he can no longer be categorized as a good or bad author.  And hence I am not tagging this book under any category. For I am sure there are many who unlike me would really enjoy this book. This book for them becomes a window to a life unheard of till now. However for me, it somehow doesn't. If you ask - Was I disappointed? No is my answer.

Recommended as a one time read purely for its entertainment purpose.


Foodie Verdict

This book is like puttu- no strong flavours but still wholesome.

Source: www.boldsky.com