If you are a voracious reader with an air of geek-vanity, you’ll claim to despise Chetan Bhagat and call him a ‘wannabe writer’. I do that too, even though I always end up reading his books.
When I picked up his latest book ‘One Indian Girl’ (a. It was dirt cheap; b. I wanted to read it before criticising it), I wasn’t quite sure if I could manage to finish the book without getting irked by it. However, I literally binge-read it in 2 days and ended up begging for more.
The book is about a highly successful I-Banker, Radhika Mehta, who is trying to find a balance between work and love in the man’s world. Brought up with a notion that her wheatish skin and over-education were men-repellent, she meets some incredible guys who convince her otherwise. However, they end up falling prey of their own male chauvinistic mentality that a girl cannot have it all and she’ll have to make some tough choices in order to be with them.
Throughout the book, Radhika is frantically running around and juggling everything on her plate: her soaring career, her messed-up love life, her marriage-obsessed mother and her beliefs. Like every Indian girl of 2016, she is independent, ambitious and wants to settle down with a man who doesn’t ask her to choose. It’s not because the career is more important than family or vice versa, it’s because she knows that she can handle it all when the time will come.
Strangely, I could see myself in Radhika. I laughed with her, cried with her, got angry with her and felt helpless with her. Being a 25 years old who is earning a living in a big city is exhausting. Yet you put up a brave front and show up to work every day. When life gives you bumps like heartbreaks and pressure of arranged marriage, it takes away a piece from you. Yet you pretend that it’s just another breakup or fight with your mom, and move on. Life is hard if you are a Radhika. Yet you fight like a warrior and make it look like there were zero casualties (even if you died a little).
In my opinion, Chetal Bhagat did a commendable job in ‘One Indian Girl’. I’m amazed at how he captured the real essence of a modern Indian girl and presented it in a totally relatable character of Radhika. He also managed to expose the inhibitions and insecurities of an Indian man in 2016 that has less to do with a woman’s beauty and more to do with her brain. Although I found the synopsis quite unconvincing and irritating, the book was a nice weekend read. Kudos!
Girls, read this book and know that you are the real deal. Never settle for anything less.
Guys, read this book and know who you are dealing with. And grow up enough to embrace it.