INDIA WAS ONE
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (April 13, 2012)
INDIA WAS ONE by an Indian wouldn’t be classified as a novel or love story, in my view. I would call it: a tough nut to crack leading to an untoward situation and a jolt that would tear your heart into pieces. The author conjures a ploy as it diverts your mind like a spy maven at his job, taking you to unchartered territory to get his job done. You are led to believe that ‘India Was One’ is a travelogue of the East (read India) meeting the west, he aptly questions your Indian-ness at a time when the political brand regionalism makes us forget that we are One nation. Lots of what-ifs!
At one glance,’ India was One’ revolves around the world of Jai and Kaahi, their friends in India and married life in United States. The confluence of culture, cricket and cinema interspersed in a structured manner in the book. As the reader slink on the sofa holding the book, he or she receives shock waves one after the other, like the earthquake, shaking them off the ground.
In one word: Though ‘India was One’ gives the impression of being the first person account of travel and life in both India, United States, it doesn’t disappoint in depicting the lives of Jai and Kaahi which is suddenly brought to a halt. As the book gains momentum, there is no stopping back and I couldn’t put it back till the end. India was One is a must read for every Indian who believe in One Country, One Nation theory and is a gift for nationalism, despite our differences.
He was in South India and she was in North India…
Have you ever imagined India being divided into two countries? What happens to the millions of Indians who are from South India but are now residing in North India? Kaahi & Jai were two such people who got trapped in this situation. How will they get together? Will India become one again?
The author throws an interesting question: What if India was divided into different countries, North, South, East and West? Would love still triumph when two people stand separated on different sides of the fence? One would argue that the book sounds like a travelogue, which is partly true. But, it isn’t it. The best thing about ‘India was On’e is that I could relate to it since I lived in Mumbai where the author touches the heart by expressing the local lingo that simply melts your heart.
Moreover, he depicts what an Indian feels at the slight mention of the name of the God of cricket, Sachin, who unites the nation. Now, who would argue over Sachin? Despite the overt details about cricket and the book did suffer at times due to an over emphasis on travel diary, the book scores high when the author cleverly brings to the fore the possibility of a divided India. The author achieves his objective since it touches your heart by shaking you off the ground, injecting one jolt after the other, making the eyes moist. Brilliant sketching of a situation where the country is divided and reference is made to the Mumbai 26/11 terror attack. Even a non-believer would be moved and shaken. An Indian injects a novelty in the book which ends with a sublime poem by Rahul.
Moreover, the author has beautifully scripted the confluence of lives in India and America, something those aliens to the vast Indian cultural heritage would be attuned to.
- What goes against the book is that the denouement takes a long time that leads to some sort of confusion, the reader is unsure, what’s in store for him or her. Honestly speaking, the entire premise around which the book is built should have come earlier to sustain the suspense and make it more dramatic cum exciting.
- I feel there is too much detailing on the A to Z of cricket in the book and description of American roads which sounds like an induction to the world of bats, bowling and batting.
There are passages and quotes in the book that makes it an endearing read and forms the beauty of reading ‘India was One’, living truly to its name.
“You swine,” said Kaahi. “We just got married, and you are already thinking about mistresses.
“You are too kind,” Jai continued.
“A slime-ball, that’s what you are..”
“That makes you Mrs Slime-ball…”
“The best way to see India is traveling on the Indian railway system. As one traveler has aptly said, “No visit to India is complete without experiencing the bustle of Indian railway stations.”
I couldn’t agree more to that.
The emotions of connecting to one’s homeland and to realize everything has changed pierced the heart, the childhood memories, the city we call ‘Mumbai’ that sends a tizzy down the spine. I could relate to the deft depiction of life in the city.
“Suddenly, Jai realized how much he missed this place..He had hardly any time to reminisce about his life in Mumbai. His college, canteen, his friends, time, they spent together. Everything was flooding his memory now.”
An Indian made me emotional and brought many scenes vivid as if it was just yesterday when he depicted life in Juhu and the playground whose face has changed, owing to ‘development.’ Time for us to reflect on the state of the city. Or, the unblemished lines, “Right across from his bungalow, used to be an open ground where he and his friends often played cricket. The ground was gone, replaced by a tall building.”
On the whole, India was One weaved by the author who choose to call himself An Indian is very significant in a time when we give ourselves religious, regional and caste identities. This pretty sum up that India was One is read. I admire the patriotism of the author who wore his heart on his sleeve.
The author contacted me on Facebook and was kind enough to consider me to review his book. Hope I’ve done justice to it.
An Indian can be reached out on his FB page, https://www.facebook.com/IndiaWasOne
Available in major bookshops across India, you can order your copy on http://www.amazon.com/India-Was-One-An-Indian/dp/1450543332