So, I finally read Chetan Bhagat’s much-touted novel 2 States that tell the readers about the impossibility of love affairs in India but ironically ends with the guy marrying the girl. Well, that is Chetan’s prerogative as the novelist. However, the novel does not offer anything special which could transcend the boundaries of being an element of a romantic fiction that sells nothing more. It does not mean that the novel is disinteresting. No, it is certainly interesting but in a limited sense. And it will strictly not attract the readers who understand fiction objectively.
It begins with two families and two members of these two special families coming together as students at IIM campus in Ahmedabad and falling in love, having sex and then getting along well. Well, for a modern love affair it is not so boring or dare I say that sex can get along even without the need of falling in love today – and so, reading it in 2019 does not make any better sense that it might have done in the year it was published. Now, other than petty love and pretty love, the novel also offers a realistic picture of the orthodox Indian families which still don’t allow women and even men to chose their life-partners. There are many troubles in the way to getting married for these two protagonists and only that part in the novel seems novel-worthy to me, today.
Chetan Bhagat is a good guy. I don’t hate him. However, as a novelist, I don’t respect him either. His novels are directed towards the young readers and he makes a situation appeal to them. It is his art and he needs to be praised for this and I do praise his craft of modern fiction. 2 States is more about Mohan telling Sohan and Sohan telling Rima. It is not about Mohan reading and making his own judgement. Chetan Bhagat’s realistic portrayal of problems of free will in India is something that has to be commended but that part, sadly, gets missed often.
In short, 2 States is a good one time read. Casual writing that can be read and enjoyed casually and this is what even Chetan Bhagat says. He does not even dare to become R K Narayan or Amitav Ghosh. He wants to remain Chetan Bhagat and he has the damn right to be so! Youths might still find something relevant in this novel; even if they fail, they will certainly be entertained by the art of Chetan’s storytelling! Do read it in your leisure. Don’t allocate your prime time slot to it, though. All the best!
review by Sourabh for Indian Book Lovers
2 States: Chetan Bhagat
A casual read to be enjoyed and entertained by reading… serious questions raised and a heroic triumph achieved!