India, Youth and Indian Books

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So The half girlfriend is to be released soon, this is Chetan Bhagat’s next and has created quite a buzz. When the book was announced, I appropriately chuckled, ridiculed the name and frowned on the less than classy cover. I admit I was snobby but when I am a die-heart  fan of Dan Brown and Jeffery Archer along with Nora Roberts and likes of them, I hold the badge to look down on the Chetan Bhagat works.

But why then did I check out the cost  of pre-ordering it on flipkart ? Why did I read the sneak-peak of the book, why did I mentally make a story of this guy and that girl. Because the Indian in me wants the masala, the story set in my background where marriage is not I-do but an elaborate 4 day deal. We have all taken a level of judgement where we are happy only with the shiny names of the author and not the depiction. I agree that Mr. Bhagat’s work is patchy in comparision. The language is a grammar Nazi’s paradise. The story is your everyday soap opera or newspaper clubbed in to give you a wholesome feel.  But even then you find something that ticks, something that sticks and that is the something that goes a long way in selling the book. We all have leafed through the book if not read it completely.

The fact is that there is dearth of youth oriented books in India that focuses on the reality and cut the crap. Maybe we will have them soon.Till then let me take you through the list of my favorite Indian work till date that is focused on something beyond the usual melo-drama. The cheap language and the absurd love story makes me cringe ( irony is I have read enough to dread the new ones). I apologize to every pointed finger on my two-faced Hippocratic attitude, and accept all the suggestions to try reading  Vedic literature for richness  or Prem chand Ji’s work for simplicity, but I humbly point out that the talk is about authors of my generation who have managed to create a ripple.

Wise enough to be foolish- Gauri Jayaram 

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This is one tale very Indian girl into reading had dreams of writing. it is the tale of how an Indian girl who is Independent, who questions, and who wants more than a marriage survives.  The army background, the interactions with men, the inter-cast wedding which falls apart and the strained relation with her parents who just don’t ‘get’ her. This is that one story which makes you feel alright about your messed up life, for you see how the protagonist eventually found a ‘respectable’ hubby who was perfect for her. This tale will not take you to some interior town or some high-five Delhi lifestyle. It will take you on a girl’s journey through life, you can switch the background and yet find something you can connect with.

Anything for you Ma’am – Tushar Raheja

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This is a love story set in Delhi, the cliched IIT Delhi frame is here. The one thing I liked here is it is wholesome family deal with a goofy and lovable guy who tells the tale of his journey to meet the lady love. The comic situation, the hostel feel and the antics of Tejas will make you smile at it all. More than once will you say ‘ bustedddd ( evil grin) ‘ when he gets caught and wiggles out of it. The end is disappointing for it brings to mind the Bollywood movie with the wind and sea getting more screentime than the man and women. Even then, this is one loved story that is sane even at its insane best.

The dork Series- Sidin Vadkut

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  1. Dork: The Incredible Adventures of Robin ‘Einstein’ Varghese
  2. God Save the Dork
  3. Who let the Dork Out

This is the dork Trilogy which gives the perfect description of Indian college atmosphere, the people and the spoof at Marketing Consultancy firm will wiggle out chuckles from Mogambo himself. The tale is of this dork who wants to have it all and doesnt mind dancing along the grey area to get it. He is not slick, has a brain that gets him into trouble rather than getting him out. he story is about how he survives corporate, makes sure his greedy pot is full, dances to the tunes of his lady love and finally gets what he wants.

Shiva Triology- Amish Tripathi 

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  1. Immortals Of Meluha
  2. Secrets of the Nagas
  3. Oaths of Vayuputras 

The tale is mesmerizing. On par with international authors in term of the story and interest it stirs. The characters stick with you and have the tendency to sneak-up on you in ways you would never comprehend. I strongly recommend this one for those who love a fantastic tale which bridges myths and practical present day lives. Even if you are unaware of the tales of Lord shiva, just read it for it promises to be addictive till you turn the last page of the last book.

Palace of Illusion-  Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni

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This is Mahabharata from Panchali’s aka Draupadi’s poit of view. Here Draupadi is not the side character but the main lead in the spotlight. It will change the way you look at the incidences of the epic. More than once you will wonder, how did I miss this. It is a powerful stand taken by the lady who was the reason behind the War itself. The author deserves kudos for powerful voice. all feminists : this is a must read. All those who are into ancient India, this is like an early Christmas. Go nuts.