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Monday, November 23, 2009

Review: 2 States by Chetan Bhagat

April 2014 Update: A movie has been made based on this Novel. I watched the movie and is a fairly good visualization of the novel. Except that Santro was replaced with i10 and few songs thrown in, rest of the content is used as is without modification.

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I'd somewhat criticized Chetan's earlier book (The 3 mistakes of my life) due to certain factual conflicts, but have no complaints on the latest one. It made an interesting read through out.

By now you must be knowing the story line. Its about 2 IIM-A students meeting at the beginning of the course, falling in love, deciding to get married, trying to convince and win approval of their parents and in-laws. Gives an excellent insight of cultural differences between two states (Punjab and TamilNadu) and parental mindsets and considerations while considering a bride/groom. Let me not reveal more as the story is best enjoyed by reading the book.

Sharing a few observations about the book:
Chetan has taken lots of liberty to reveal inside secrets of his former employer, Citibank. The details as to how badly he wanted the citibank job (as it paid the highest), how he carefully lied in his selection interview, his first day at work when he recommended a customer to invest in internet stocks, blindly trusting research reports published by another equally incompetent fresher and other matters internal to office.

Its a open secret how people go after highest paying jobs and how companies treat fresh recruits. Nothing official about it, but when putting the same in something as official as a book, authors usually use pseudo names to hide real identity of a company/person.(or at least add a disclaimer) But Chetan has mentioned Citibank’s name directly, without any hesitation. We can brush it aside as a fiction, but incidents mentioned are very close to reality and if a potential HNI reads this book and finds out how fresh out of college students with half baked knowledge mismanage his/her money, he/she is sure to think twice next time. May be Chetan has taken necessary permission, or may be no one felt such disclosures could be bad for Citi’s image. Fortunately for Citibank, I’m sure most of its priority banking customers will be too busy to read “2 States” to get an idea who is managing their money and how. (John Grisham's "The Associate" explains how lawfirms exploit lawschool graduates)

Chetan also mentioned how his job was misused-to get Ananya’s mom on stage, to get free stay at Goa hotel, promising that he’ll get Citibank to do its annual conference there and so on. All these might be purely imaginary, but since such things happen in real life every day and since Chetan was working with Citibank till 2009 (he quit to become full time writer, just as Krish in his book wanted to) these things appear more as a confession than fiction

There's also no mention of any induction program or training-he was asked to supervise a team right on his day 1. Sounds a little odd

That apart, Chetan’s books also give a feeling that there’s nothing great about IITs and IIMs. The blind faith most of us have about IIT and IIMs are likely to be shaken a little, if we take Chetan’s description of IIT/IIM life in his books for real.

Will it be a safe bet to guess that his next book will have number 4 in it? He’s already done with 1 (1 night @ call centre), 2 (2-states), 3 (The 3 mistakes of my life) and 5 (5 point someone)

I liked this particular line, which gives a clear illustration of cultural shock and differences-When Krish visits Ananya’s house in Mylapore Chennai, a banana leaf was laid in front of them, to be served food on. “For a moment I wondered if I should eat it or wipe my hands with it-then Ananya said that this is the plate”
Krish’s Dad stepping in last moment (more details removed from this review) was a surprise element for me in the book, else the story took the normal expected course.

Rest of the aspects are best enjoyed by reading the book itself. In brief its all about Krish and Ananya’s attempts to open up the closed mindset their parents had- that a bride/groom of a different community/state is not even worth considering.

If you’ve read it share your thoughts please.

More book reviews: It happened in India * Raga Chintamani * Zero Percentile * Not a penny more, not a penny less

17 comments:

Mohan said...

Well, even I read this book over the weekend. It is a nice short book with lot of masala as always by Chetan. It was indeed a good read for a lazy sunday :)

Anonymous said...
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Manoj said...

I think he has even said negatively about ITT's in 5 point someone. Somewhere he mentions, there is no importance given to ideas....

Madhu | INDImag.com said...

Hoping to read this soon. Got this book as a prize, so will be extra sweet :-)

Great review; I skipped some parts where it looked like it was giving away much of detail ;-)

Shrinidhi Hande said...

Mohan,
Ok

Manoj,
Yes, at least he is trying to be honest and straight forward

Madhu,
Congrats on the win-no I wasn't giving away too much.. you can read it fully...

Marry said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

Hi There,

Good review and a pretty good book.
I would just suggest you remove 1 line from the review about Krish's dad's role in the book. I feel its giving away too much.

But I agree with you on the review. It's a nice book and am surprised Citibank has not yet made an issue of how its portrayed in the book.

Venkatesh.

diana said...

I would like to read comments about five point something and one night at the call centre

nancy said...

ur reviews are simply superb. thanks. good job

Shrinidhi Hande said...

Venkatesh,
I've edited that line to remove the clue...
thanks

Diana,
Ok, will consider reviewing them sometime...

nancy,
thanks

Sandeep said...

I read the book yesterday and it was an interesting read like the earlier one "3 mistakes of my life".

One thing I like about Chetan is that his books are ready to read and filled with humor and stuff from our daily life.

Especially the cultural differences he pointed out this books are interesting to read as many would know them.

cheers
Sandeep

Manasi said...

At first I started thinking it might be some error here...duplicate book?? …every word inspired from Erich Sehgal’s Love Story. Plot, story everything seemed copied.
Sort of annoyed… u shld read Love Story to understand what I mean.

Shrinidhi Hande said...

Manasi,

is it? I've not read the book you'd mentioned. Will try to read.

Any comments others?

Anonymous said...

Hi Manasi..

I have read both "Love Story" and "2 states".....didnt find any similiarity...infact the plots are totally differ...especially the ending...May be you need to refresh your memory ..LOL

Anonymous said...

Worst ever thing i ever read.

Anonymous said...

bad book. plain and clear. this culture of masala writing iss ruining Indian literature

Javed Khatri said...

Yes, agreed with last comment. Simply masala writing, inspired more by masala films than any genuine literature. Overuse of stereotypes, or in plain words only stereotypes are exploited.

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