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Posts Tagged ‘Non- Fiction’

Krish and Ananya finally get married and they live happily thereafter with their kids……!!!  Feels as if I have just finished watching a bollywood flick. Well, not exactly !! But have just finished reading 2 States by chetan Bhagat, which is  going to be another hit bollywood flick for sure. As I was moving ahead in the novel para by para, page by page, the only thing that crossed me, am I watching yet another hindi movie? 2 States is bingo !!! There was little disappointment with his last novel, 3 mistake…. But in 2 States he has hit the right note in all the departments – story line, wit, emotions, sex and melodrama. It is indeed a treat of those who love reading light hearted youthfull novels.

2 States is about Krish and Ananya. Set in the backdrop of IIM Ahmedabad, this novel is essentially a love story. A north Indian boy falls in love with a south Indian girl.  They decide to get married and families approval is mandatory. But the problem is India’s rich cultural diversity. Well, is that a problem? Oh yes, especially when the difference is as great as north and south of India. The plot revolves around how this madly in love couple decide not to elope and make this happen with their parents’ consent.

It wont be surprising if I put it as a screenplay of a wanna be movie than a novel. Right from the beginning till the end it simply seems as if you are up watching a nice romantic movie. The culture difference in north and south India has been portrayed with great effectiveness and sheer honesty. The “larger than life” life style of punjabi’s and the mellowed down south Indian lifestyle has been put with lot of sincerity. Chetan Bhagat is always credible when it comes to humour and his choice of one liners. And this time too they are highly appreciable and probably boosts the readability of the novel to a large extent. Touting it as semi autobiographical, Chetan Bhagat’s characters are sumptuous enough to make one feel “I wish I was Krish or may be Ananya.” They are typically boy next door types and easily identifiable. Perhaps one of the best things about all his works.

2 States has a much better narration than “3 mistakes of my life”. Though his writing style is largely similar in all the first 3 novels, in 2 States, his attempt is much more sensitive and realistic with acceptable gestures of love and emotions. Unlike his last flick, 2 States doesn’t go overboard in sex and exgaerting melodrama which makes the novel a very interesting read. Its a story where the protagonists never let their parents’ decision influence their choice and at the same time manages to understand their sensibilities. A good attempt to convey some serious message as well. The situations acts as fodder for arguments and drama, and Mr.Bhagat conveniently wraps them in his wit and humour and presents before us. Needless to say his distint style which is his hallmark.

Chetan Bhagat is indeed a smart writer. He nurtured the dream of being a writer right from his IIM days. And why not, this former investment banker has made India read like never before. He understands the youth pulse. And more than that knows what sells. Chetan Bhagat certainly knows to wield his pen. He knows what to talk and how to talk. His earlier books have been acclaimed and consequently made into movies. Whenever he comes out with a novel, it creates an unprecedented ripple in the market. Literary profoundness is not his forty. But what he has is mass appeal and an inexplicable aura.

With 2 States selling like hot cake, I guess all izz well for Mr. Bhagat.  Now all we need is to wait and watch who grabs 2 States. A sure shot bollywood blockbuster, hopefully duly credited to this fantastic writer. Bravo !!!

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The Zahir by Paulo Coelho
A beautifully woven story, gorgeously blended with Paulo’s trademark philosophy and spirituality, The Zahir is yet another delightful piece for all those who are trying to find out what love and relationship is all about. A story about an author and his journey for self discovery, The Zahir with its semi autobiographical narration gives the much needed insight to his readers on love and understanding  in the per view of  married life.
The narrator, a best selling author himself is happily married to a war correspondent, Esther, until one day his wife disappears from their Paris home without a word of explanation. The author is at a fix…what went wrong? Was she kidnapped or she ran away with another man or she fled away from her married life? A host of logical and illogical questions begins to linger around him, which not only requires contemplation about the status of their marriage but also his own life.The much needed answers to pacify the unrest in his soul. The author decides to find out his wife and through out the journey is forced to reexamine all the different facets of his life, his profession, love, marriage and infidelity. In this quest of self discovery the author writes books and eventually becomes famous but fails to understand the emptiness in his life. He always believed that his wife loved him  and now that myth has been shattered with his inexplicable disappearance, the author goes into this mode of transformation. Although Esther is physically and emotionally lost to him, but he finds her in The Zahir. According to the book, The Zahir in Arabic means “present”, or “incapable of being unnoticed”. It is something that grabs our thought, mind and spirit and demands our full attention. It lingers around us all the time.It is believed to lead to either Holiness or madness. In this book, the Zahir is a woman, Esther, the Zahir. As Paulo explains ” she fills everything.She is the only reason I am alive. I look around, I prepare myself for the talk I am to give, and I understand why I braved the snow, the traffic jams and the ice on the road: in order to be reminded that  everyday I need to rebuild myself and to accept – for the first time in the entire existence- that I love another human being more than I love myself.”
The author realises that even though Esther is not with him physically but her presence is mounting and there is no way he could  escape it ………” I am pleased that she exists; she has shown me that I am capable of a love of which I myself knew nothing and this leaves me in a state of grace“. During these days, he meets Mikhail, the man suspected to be behind Esther’s disappearance, but through his strange and mysterious way he creates a deep impact on the author and makes him understand that in order to find Esther, he need  to ‘find himself’ first. Mikhail introduces the author to a  “tribe” of spiritual seekers who resist, somewhat vaguely, conventional ways of living. And through the author’s journey from Paris to Kazakhstan till he finds Esther, he explores various meanings of love, understanding, marriage, sex and life on the whole. The author finally finds Esther in the steppes of Kazakhstan. And more than that finds the all important missing threads of their lives.
This story is stunningly beautiful. Each page has a gem which will simply make you smile, think, and then move ahead to find the next. . For me this book is a source of enlightenment. I simple loved Coelho’s take on love. He says ” Love was also a synonym for tenderness, security, prestige, comfort, success.Love could be translated into smiled, into words like ‘I love you…” Beautiful lines indeed !!!  The novel has taught me to leave the past behind in order to move on. Something which I feel is undoubtedly  the best way to move ahead in life. As I always said I vehemently rooted for  the characters in Coelho’s novel. But in The Zahir, it is his profound thoughts and his takes on few very essential things in life along with a mesmerizing narration,  that steals the show and makes this book  wroth a read. It is hard to read Coelho’ works without being touched and The Zahir is no exception.
Finally, as Paulo says, ” ….to me that suffering occurs when we want other people to love us in the way we imagine we want to be loved, and not in the way love should manifest itself – free and untrammelled, guiding us with its force and driving us on,” I wish I had read these lines before !!!

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