|Book Title Two States|
First Published: 2009
The story of a North Indian boy falling for a South Indian girl and his struggles in convincing both sides of the family into accepting this relationship.
Forgiving doesn’t make the person who hurt you feel better, it makes you feel better.
This may be the first time in the history of books, but here goes:
Dedicated to My In-Laws.*
*Which does not mean I am henpecked, under her thumb or not man enough.
The Tamil sense of humor, if any, is really an acquired taste.
I would also like to tell all South Indians I love them. My better half will vouch for that. I have taken the liberty to have some fun with you just like I have with Punjabis – only because I see you as my own. You only make digs at people you care for.
- Primarily concerned about food.
- Usually on the heavy side.
- Overdressed and with a preference for bling and gaudy jewellery.
- Love showing off their wealth.
- Usually outspoken, loud and dramatic.
- Believe South Indians have a complexion complex.
- Love to shop.
- Education is not exactly a priority, especially for a girl.
- Love the IIT tag and foreign degrees.
- Eat only Idlis.
- Almost all of them are black (not dark), and most of them use generous doses of talcum powder.
- Listen to horrible Carnatic music.
- Docile, repressed and the only sign of rebellion is talking in Tamil to non-Tamilians.
- Tamilian men usually have thick glasses and oiled hair, and since they cannot get girlfriends themselves, prefer arranged marriages.
- Tamilians don’t like to have fun and like to follow the rules. Fun, for them, is usually associated with guilt.
- They like reading The Hindu, and are comfortable with silences. The dinner is a quiet affair with everyone exchanging dead looks.
Marble flooring is to a Punjabi what a foreign degree is to a Tamilian.
When people land at Chennai airport, they exchange smiles and proceed gently to the car park. At Delhi, there is traffic jam of people trying to hug each other to death.
Someone who tells stories that are fun but bring about change too.
- Does he finally understand the city and its people or his girlfriend (or vice versa)? No.
- Does he show the positives of the stereotyped parents and South-Indian (and North-Indian) bosses? No.
- Does he show some exceptions to the stereotypes – like an educated Punjabi girl, a non-blingy Punjabi parent, a non-gossipy relative, a cool south Indian friend, a drinking and meat-eating Tamilian? No.
- Does he lie his way through to the girl’s parents' hearts? Yes.
- Does he expect the girl to lie to his parents and do the household work to impress his mother? Yes.
- Does he manipulate the brother, the girl’s parents and his mother into accepting for the marriage? Yes.
- Despite the lofty talks of wanting to bring about change, and constantly putting down a multinational bank like Citi, does he, in the end, resort to the traditional method of flattery to get his job done? Yes.
No matter how accomplished people get, they don’t stop fishing for compliments.
Girl: “No I want to marry where my parents are treated as equals”
Boy: “You should have been born a boy”.
Girl: “That’s so sexist, I would have hung up if I didn’t care for you”.
It is an easy read - the language is simple and easy to follow. Of course, it is light on the pockets. But please read the book with minimal expectations. Bhagat does not disappoint, at least in terms of mediocre writing and shallowness that is expected out of him.