Six//One Indian Girl- a rant.

Book: One Indian Girl by Chetan Bhagat

I went into this book with immensely low expectations, and somehow still ended up disappointed.

For those of you who don’t know, Chetan Bhagat’s newest book is about a Indian woman with a brilliant career who’s just about to get married, until some complications from her past land up at the destination wedding that she is paying for.

Bhagat tried to write this as some sort of landmark book on Indian feminism for the Indian masses, and I commend him, honestly. I’m sure he had good intentions, etc etc.

But at the end of the day, leaving aside the pseudo feminism that is paraded throughout, the book still falls short on, well, pretty much everything.

Bhagat sticks to his money winning formula of 1) a wedding

2) a Punjabi family

3) an outspoken mother contrasted with a silent (in other books, even absent) father,

and yet touts this as a radical change (because of the female protagonist) which is slightly questionable (because a female protagonist doesnt mean his writing style has suddenly evolved and his plot formulae has been ignored?!)

Every single character is not only a living stereotype, but lacks any depth whatsoever, especially the protagonist, Radhika.

Radhika, from the start, is just painful. I mean, I get it, Chetan Bhagat just needed a woman who would be able to realistically have a whole bunch of issues because she’s a woman, but did that really mean that he had to confine her to just that?

Literally running to a different continent in order to escape her past, Radhika, an apparent genius, made me want to slap her. Multiple times. Bhagat also goes on about how she’s a nerd who’s become hot, etc,etc, but what I don’t understand is if she’s really that hot, how in the world does she meet only two men in the span of like, eight years? The author repeatedly talks about how she’s  so intelligent and so feminist and so independent that he fails to actually show it, and instead contradicts these characteristics through her actions.

Oh, just in case you were hoping for someone better, the rest of the characters arent much better. They all are living (kind of), breathing (doubtfully) stereotypes(definitely) and reading about them navigating their, well, stereotypes is just mind numbing.

But you know what, I get it. Bhagat has tried to introduce feminism to the masses in a way that’s easy to swallow, and he’s done in the style that he loves, with the intention of hopefully turning it into a picture perfect movie. And for any of the above objectives, the book works, technically.

But at the end of the day, the book can’t be judged by the intentions of its author, but only by its pages. And by its pages, One Indian Girl is a half baked plot with barely two dimensional characters. No matter why Chetan Bhagat wrote it, this is what matters, atleast for me.

(For the record- I don’t think his message was completely correct. I don’t think the book conveys what feminism is. I don’t think that’s how he should have tried to convey it. And I guess that makes it harder for me to like the story.)

That’s about it, if I continue I may never stop! I reaally hope you read some good books this week. Step out of your comfort zone, maybe it’ll work better for you than it did for me.

Five

I am lying here, a subtle caress

away from losing

any faith I had in myself,

and I’m a whisper

away from giving up- I am

not brave when I’m with them.

I only speak my

mind when I know everyone

will agree with me, and

when I know that it

won’t end like this, like me

being a wreck on the

floor, and I ignore

my ideals when convenient-

courage only tastes good

when it’s sampled with

kindness, when it’s mixed

with being agreeable,

when it defies prejudice

in the most privileged

way possible; I am not

brave when I’m with them.

I’m just what they expect

me to be, even my arguments

are ones that sit

comfortably on their bias, and

even my rebelliousness

is something that’s worn

by so many people before me,

it slipped into the status quo,

and now, now I know that

everything I do is done

with the caution of someone

with nothing to lose except

their privilege, except

their comfortable existence,

except their claim to an

injustice they’ve never felt.

Four//happenings

​What happens when we 

stop being art? 

What happens when

everything I’ve

written about you looks 

like scrawled

gibberish, and what happens

when it’s only

in my eyes? What happens

when I’m tired of

this project, ready to move

on to the next,

ready to forget this

happened? What happens 

when it’s my fault?

What happens when we 

slowly fade out

of existence, till it’s

just you and

me, just two people who

knew each other? 

What happens when this 

stops looking 

amazing? What happens 

when I just want 

this to disappear, I just

want us to

return to the way we were?

What happens 

when I think this looks like

nostalgia, but to

you, it’s still the present?

Three// pretty please.

​We dress up every please

in evening clothes-

say pretty please, say

please with a cherry on top,

say please in pearls, in 

high heels, in a carefully

contoured face; what’s

the point of sickly 

sweetness when its not

done right? We say please

like its casual change, like

it’s weekday trash, tossed 

out on the street on your

way to work, on your way

to more meaningful

words- we say please

like time is wind blowing

in the opposite direction.

And please doesn’t mind,

please is happy to walk

barefoot through these

burning roads, begging 

for pity from anyone

who would listen, and

please is happy to wear 

that lace dress, that lipstick

and slowly, steadily

break down your barriers

with that smirk- so say 

please. Say pretty please, 

say pretty please with a

cherry on top and let it

slowly, steadily get 

what you want.

Two//independence.

​Independence tasted bitter 

at first, like something that

wasn’t quite ready to be eaten,

but the taste grew on me, and

now I quite enjoy the sharp

tang of looking out for myself,

coupled with a sweet aftertaste

of victory, of climbing a mountain

I thought I couldn’t scale.