One Indian Girl – Review

51kA Upq61L. SX325 BO1,204,203,200  - One Indian Girl - Review
Revolution 2020 and Half Girlfriend are two of Chetan Bhagat’s books, that I regret ever having read. I had vowed never to read his fiction again. But boring bus-journeys and unending traffic jams make you do impossible things, like taking up ‘One Indian Girl’ to read. While reading the book, I realized something very important. You should never judge a book by the cover, and you should never judge it by other people’s judgments either. The book was my sole companion for the journey, and it made my journey bearable. Even pleasant, I might say.
The prologue is a modest account of a girl who tells you that you won’t like her much, and she also gives you reasons for that. Frankly, I liked her for being so honest. But, that is where the originality ends and ‘hundred years of Bollywood’ begins. There is a Punjabi wedding, beautiful dresses, expensive hotels, business trips in resorts, world tours, and whatever unachievable stuff it takes to write a screenplay. The girl is extremely brilliant at her job and receives huge bonuses and promotions every year. Yet, she is in a habit of trying to leave her job because of bad break-ups. Surprisingly, her bosses always manage to keep her in the company by offering raises and relocations. It makes you wonder why she never relocated to India, which would have been a good option considering she was depressed.
All this said, the book does raise a very significant question. Why are women asked to choose between a home and a career? Being successful does not mean that a woman does not want a family. If a woman is very successful at her job, does it mean she won’t love her children? That is a really ridiculous thing to say. It strongly points to the fact that Indian men are scared of practical and ambitious women. Even in today’s times, a woman’s career is always treated as secondary to a man’s. Even men who encourage women to excel, don’t want them to excel beyond a certain level. There is a line in the book which aptly sums up this sick mentality, “Fly, as long as you fly beneath me.”
All of Chetan Bhagat’s books are ideal to be picked up and converted into a Hindi movie. Sparing the bling, the masala and the unreal drama, the underlying issue is completely real. There is also one other message the book gives. A marriage is made by two companions for life, and not by one earning person and one homely person. That is not the definition of marriage, and people need to understand that. The author wanted the book to be the story of a modern Indian girl stuck in a conservative society, and it is at least ninety percent that. Sure, you are bound to get irritated by the dancing fat Punjabi aunties, two moronic ex-lovers, and the girl who does weed one day before her wedding. But when you would reach the last line on the last page, you would be smiling – and thinking. And that, I feel, is the best thing a book can do.

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