just finished reading *2 states* chetan bhagat's latest venture. and i enjoyed it totally! it was like watching a nice, stress-free movie...one where you dont have to use your brain, but which doesnt make fun of your intellect either. and i definitely dont remember the last time i actually laughed while reading a book! it's definitely not the finest piece of literature...not even close in fact...however, its a book which made me happy.
but i would think twice before recommending the book to everyone. you see, unless you really truly knowww and love both the communities which are the subject of the book- the over exuberant punjabis, and the simple, yet stern tamilians- you probably wont enjoy it like i did. or anyone who loves both these drastically different kind of human species would.
you would have to understand what paneer and dancing at weddings means to punjabis...just like you would have to understand what rules and carnatic music mean to the tamilians. you have to truly have seen the whole लेन देन culture, just like you have to have attended early morning weddings. you have to understand what getting a good deal (in the context of marriage) means in both the communities. you have to know that a iit trained, software engineer son-in-law based in the US means to the tamil brahmin what the super rich girl with 6 petrol pumps in her family means to the punjabi. taking sides while reading *2 states* would just ruin the fun...you cant say you liked the malhotras more than the swaminathans, or that the swaminathans were cooler than the malhotras...it would just kill the soul of the book.
i am one of those lucky few (yes i consider myself that) to be a part of both these awesome, yet drastically different cultures. i understand the rules of the tamilian as well as the "ki farak penda hai" attitude of the punjabi. i relish the paneer as much as i crave for the rasam. i can dance at punjabi weddings, as well as i can (well try to) make sense of carnatic music. i love bollywood, but i love watching rajnikant movies too. we mix the punjabiness with the tamilianness in my household- at my cousin's wedding recently, amidst all the brahmin rituals, we engaged in heavy duty jhappiyan and pappiyan. we are as loud and exuberant as the punjabis, just like we're as education obsessed and rule conscious as the tamilians. we have rajma chawal and good old thayir sadam (curd rice) in the same meal. we celebrate diwali both tamilian and dilli style...i love how we celebrate rakhi (which isnt celebrated down south) with the same joy that we celebrate pongal (sankranti- a biggg celebration down south) i love how tirupati and vaishno devi are both equally special to us. to the pessimist, we may seem confused....i would say we're cool enough to take the best of both the cultures.
so yay to *2 states*- not only for being an awesome read...but also for making me think about the two states and cultures, which shape me, and which i love oh-so-much :)