Sunday, October 9, 2016

Book Review : One Indian Girl ( By Chetan Bhagat )

For the first time, I have to admit that Chetan Bhagat's work is 'something special'. Having read each one of his creations, I can safely conclude that the guy is popular because of the connection he is able to establish with the readers. Yes, all this book have that one character whom the average Indian can identify with. And since the average Indian comes in all shapes, sizes and skin color, the characters keep changing. This time it is an Indian girl ( not an average one but someone very special ) whom quite a large number of female readers would connect with.

Whether it is the pseudo-feminist Debu, the debonair Neel or a sweet and nerdy Brijesh, it is a book that explores the male psych from a female perspective. Riya, the protagonist is clearly an overachiever with a cushy job at Goldman Sachs and a whole load of baggage regarding her physical appearance. Now, it may sound regressive but in the real world, Indian girls are still brought up to obsess over their looks. To keep things more alive, Riya has a mother who is constantly trying to marry her off. Magical touch isn't it ?

Almost every second girl earning a decent package and who has crossed the age of 25 can relate to this 'secret desire' to settle down. It is a different story that they will never admit to it and instead blame it on the pushy relatives. Also known as the Cinderella complex, it is nothing but an all consuming desire of having someone take care of you. Never mind that you end up mothering the guy even as you draw an equal paycheck. Huh ??

However, it is Bhagat's take on the guys which is clearly more interesting. He has stereotyped them in pretty much the same way as we females do. While it is very much possible for a writer to slip under the skin of a character, this is one epic effort. The male characterization is clearly one of the key strengths of this book.

As Debu shows us, it is an entirely different ball game to pay lip service to the concept of female equality and being man enough to accept a wife who earns more than him. Neel on the other hand belongs to the somewhat sparse tribe of super successful men who are still insecure in parts. Don't we call it the 'middle age crisis' or something like that ? Wanting to hold on to a younger woman apparently offers them some extent of redemption. These are the guys who keep the gossip mills going during the water cooler/tea/coffee breaks . And every organisation has one or two such specimens. Though not all of them happen to be star-crossed like that Phaneesh Murthy guy !

Brijesh is the sweetest of them all. A nerd who works with Facebook, he is not only the obedient son who also supportive of his wife. But not in a patronizing way . The weed episode in Goa establishes him as quite the cool guy. Towards the end when all everything comes together (or rather falls apart), we realize that he is only human but one with a kind soul.

Overall, a nice read. Not that it will leave you with much to introspect but a smile on the face is guaranteed  !

Statutory Warning - The male of the species may find this less than amazing . Especially the types who are inclined to pass judgement on anything (living / non-living) within the radius of mile or sometimes even more.


  1. I read Ravinder singh's book this love that feel right...i will write my first ever book review :)
    I am not a big fan of Bhagat but lets see if i like this one :)

  2. That's a detailed review, and a good one.

  3. Participate in the blogging contest at soon...!