Chetan Bhagat has indeed become a name to reckon with, as his books have gained immense popularity. More than a youth icon, he’s become a celebrity himself.
The storyline of the book is predictable from the feel-good titling itself. Two protagonists – Krish Malhotra (a Punjabi) and Ananya Swaminathan (a Tamilian) are classmates at IIM Ahmedabad. A rendezvous at the college canteen bonds them together, and in a matter of weeks, love blossoms for the duo.
The story progresses at a reasonable pace. The first phase of the book introduces the lead characters. It begins with how they meet each other. In spite of being in one of the biggest institutions where studies are priority, they fall in love and by the time they pass out of college, they decide to get married to each other.
The second & third phase involves the introduction of the respective families, their dislike for each other, and their disapproval of the relationship. The hurdles seem overwhelming in the beginning – harsh differences between their parents, their cultures and the language barrier being the reasons.
Krish gets posted in Citibank Chennai, whereas Ananya works with HLL (a conglomerate) and sets the ball rolling, where Krish tries to impress and convince Ananya’s parents for marriage.
Each chapter is a delight to read and the description of the settings of the places makes it all the more fun to read. The fourth section of the book has the reverse act where Ananya has to ensure that everyone in Krish’s family likes her and how she manages that.
The fifth section focuses on the meeting of two families. Their carefully-crafted plans suffer occasional hindrances and at one point in time, the entire affair goes topsy turvy. And the last section concentrates on the end.
The story emphasizes on the family bonding, the togetherness and the never ending love in a relationship. The story also dwells upon the relationship of father-son, son-mother, husband-wife, the in-laws, the typical Punjabis born and brought up in Delhi and the lifestyle of Tamil Brahmins.
In between, one even finds the touch of the spirituality in the story and a moral teaching of forgiveness which is beautifully put in, by way of the interesting relationship between the ex-army father and IIMA graduated son. There are some funny incidents picked from day to day life which we go through each day and hence can relate to.
The most spectacular feature of the book is the autobiographical element. It all starts with the subtitle of the book – “the story of my marriage”. Bhagat himself has admitted that the story is inspired from his own life. The parallels with real-life are very engaging.
But there are certain drawbacks as well. On the whole, the book’s story seems like it is straight out of a Bollywood movie. ‘Two states’ also has some clichéd moments. The way Ananya and Krish impress each others parents, that’s way too good to be true. Agreed, ‘Two states’ is fiction, but for a book that has autobiographical content, Bhagat could’ve been more realistic.
All said and done, the final word on the book is that it is worth picking up and makes a good read. The pacing of the book is perfect. There is not one boring moment in the book! Once you start reading, you’d only put the book down when you’re done with it.