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Last Updated Monday October 16 2017 09:21 AM IST

Chetan Bhagat's One Indian Girl: Half woman | Book review

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Chetan Bhagat's One Indian Girl: Half woman

Chetan Bhagat is trying to see the world from the other side of the spectrum. And that brings us to the One Indian Girl - Radhika Mehta, a young and successful banker, who tells us why her life is going down the hill.

It is Radhika’s destination wedding at Goa Marriott and we are introduced to her overbearing mother, nosy aunts and glam doll sister.

And just when she is out on a stroll with her husband-to-be, she gets a text message from who else, but her ex-boyfriend who has suddenly re-discovered his lost love for her.

And the lover from four years ago in New York pops up in Goa in less than 24 hours.

That prompts Radhika to take a flashback to New York, where we see her visiting tony restaurants, shunning her middle-class, studious Dili girl moorings.

Cut to the present, will she break off her impending wedding with her fiancé and run away with her ex-boyfriend just before taking the final vow? Trailer of a Karan Johar movie, anyone?

Some of the crucial scenes in the book could easily make the transition on to the silver screen. After 3 idiots and 2 states, Ek Desi girl, may be.

Chetan Bhagat's One Indian Girl: Half woman

Back to our book, the first half labors alongside Radhika as she tries to fit into the clout of a modern woman. The author does make a point on the invisible pressure on woman to look good, especially, when she is out with a man.

But it is still too much to bear when our heroine wearing a Prada outfit is called as boring by her sister.

Or when the 27-year-old woman, who is single-handedly spending a near-fortune to conduct her own destination wedding, is asked by her mother to 'stop waving her feminism flag' for her all-too-important week.

Get branded

Objects in this book come heavily tagged with adjectives that cry out the wealth and so-called status of its owners. For there is no bag in this book, it’s a Louis Vuitton or Tumi.

Major IT and global companies are not passing mentions, but stamp their importance in the digital era. The fiance - who works in Facebook, IIMA, IIMC and Harvard graduates, employees of JP Morgan and Morgan Stanley - all jostle for space in the book.

The author’s own experience as a banker at Goldman Sachs drags us to the intricate alleys of the financial domain, a not so exciting prospect.

Waxing scene

For anyone who would be more than interested, the waxing scene comes early on in the book. The chapter in itself does not in any way justify the now infamous video of Bhagat, wherein he said that the experience helped him figure out girls.

Chetan Bhagat wants to 'figure out' girls, goes for waxing

There are moments of humor in the book, but the said chapter doesn't make it to that list.

Bhagat sticks to his usual breezy narrative style and quickly takes us through the series of events and gives a nice little twist towards the interval. (Can't shrug off the idea that a filmmaker is already outside the author's door with an offer)

The girl's conscious referred to as mini-me is a nice addition.

Giving credit to the author, the book gains in depth and meaning as our heroine finds more foot in her life.

We are thankfully left out of the inane details in the latter half as the author chooses more to focus on the problem at hand - a woman asked to pick between career and family?

The author goes thus far when it comes to progressive thoughts and then kind of takes a U-turn.

Chetan Bhagat's One Indian Girl: Half woman

The idea of a woman struggling to break free from the stereotypes is there somewhere between all the feminism chatter, but doesn't really take off – probably blinded by the pomp and show of the high-earning, top-class world she inhabits.

And the mini-me inside just woke up to ask - Bhagat could be pardoned for missing out on some points about woman, but what is he conveying through the stereotypical men in the book who all let down the woman in their lives?

One Indian Girl does asks some poignant questions but Chetan Bhagat doesn't fully crack them.

The book is an easy and to some extent fun read but in no way can it be brought anywhere near the sections of woman empowerment or feminism.

Grab it, while you wait at the airport lounge.

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