India Was One

Rated 4.32/5 based on 19 reviews
…Suddenly, he saw something shiny at the bottom of the abyss. He squinted his eyes to see what it was. He ran back to his binoculars and turned them to see what it was. Sharp barbed wires that separated the two mountains came into focus. He had come as far as he could in his country. But she was standing in another country.

He was in South India and she was in North India… More

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Words: 83,350
Language: English
ISBN: 9781452487533
About An Indian

The author was born and raised in Mumbai, India. He came to the US in 1989 to New York. He currently resides in Los Angeles with his wife and two children.




Review by: Boyko Ovcharov on Nov. 28, 2013 :
A story with a human touch!

Particularly, I liked all the descriptions of culture, art, customs and traditions, family bonds, friendship, love story, travel, leisure activities, social gatherings, societal underpinnings; things that are human indeed. Those things are somewhat omnipresent around the globe in some form or another, supposedly.
The style of the author is exquisite and immersive. The 'yarn' or the 'thread' of the story is believable and quite realistic.
On the other hand, the second part of the book seems rather dramatic, which builds up and leads to the expected culmination. Here, the reader is prompted to critically assess the societies we all live in nowadays. Especially, in terms of imposed separation, divisions, 'walls', stereotypes etc. Whereas, these physical or psychological 'boundaries' artificially disregard the human side of the latter process and, thus, could entail numerous tragedies, distorted destinies, strife.
In conclusion, I was intrigued to ponder over the emergent discrepancies between the personal aspirations, family relationships and overall societal arrangements. Otherwise, factors that originally were supposed to complement and enhance each other.
This is an outstandingly deep book that is definitely worth reading.

Boyko G. Ovcharov - author
(reviewed the day of purchase)

Review by: Sarika Patkotwar on Nov. 27, 2012 :
Actual rating: 3.5

I was intrigued by the title "India Was One" the moment I saw the book online. Being a student of Political Science, I knew this was one book I had to read. Before reading the summary, I had assumed that the book would be about Indian history before partition. But India Was One was not even close to what I thought it would be. I was trying my best to lay my hands on this book when the author very kindly gave me a copy of it in exchange for an honest review.
There were some aspects of the book that I really liked while there were some that didn't sit quite well with me. Honestly, I don't really know how to review India Was One without giving away too much and without taking prejudices into consideration.
India Was One is the story of Vijay (Jai) and Kahani (Kahi), college sweethearts who, after getting married, move to the US and all hell brakes loose when, just as they are settling in and getting used to thier new lives, CNN flashes news that the country of India has been divided into two parts, North India and South India.
One of the best aspects of the book for me was that I could connect to it emotionally. The college scenes with Jai, Kahi and their friends, Bunty, Subra and Punk were exactly like any normal college scenes. The family scenes, anxiety in times of cricket matches, sipping chai (tea) endlessly, food, parties, dance, drama are also easy to relate to. Being an Indian myself, I could easily understand why someone did something in some way. The author has nailed the art of explaining a simply complicated Indian scenario with simplicity and extravagance simultaneously. All Indian concepts and histories that non-Indians might not be aware of have been clearly elucidated. These concepts and histories are clear in my head, but reading about them was an altogether different learning experience.
When Jai and Kahi move to the US, they walk into a new world. They learn to live life in a new way. Not just me, but so many Indians have relatives in the US and we've all heard stories about their experience when they first went there. Another facet that I could relate to. We have all teased NRIs (Non- Residential Indians) by calling them Non- Required Indians. We have all, in a teasing manner of course, made fun of them saying that they leave India and don't care about the country at all after that. We have all heard them complain about India when they occasionally revisit and we've all curiously listened to their US-India comparisons.
We have all been there and done that and India Was One is just a reflection of that.
Jai and Kahi's return to India was what made the book emotionally powerful. Just the fact that they come all the way back to India only to see if their parents are okay is what makes an Indian, an Indian.
This part is where you get to see how India, the largest democracy in the world, is in a chaotic state and nothing can be done. I would have loved to read an elaboration of the division of India. How it all happened, why did it happen... Instead, it was just said that India was divided due to national unrest. Radio stations and TV channels are turned off. The Indian economy is in shackles and even cricket (which is more of a religion than a sport in India) is out of the picture. It would have been enlightening to read about the what's, how's and why's of it.
The ending was extremely heart wrenching. The 26/11 terrorist attacks on Mumbai were referred to and everyone has their personal opinion on it. I do too, but I do not how to share them without having to pick over either sides of the story. Even though the attacks happened in Mumbai and it was important to give significance to Mumbai residents or Mumbaikars, I thought the stress on Mumbaikars was heavy, keeping aside the others. Nonetheless, it was beautiful and I loved how the author stresses on unity among Indians during times of trouble and how, in the end of the day, no matter which of the 28 states of India we come from, we are all the same- Indians.
The book took me back to Chetan Bhagat's The 3 Mistakes Of My Life and 2 States, two books that I absolutely adore and I really liked how India Was One reminded me of them. A resplendent read, India Was One made me smile at times, laugh at times, and feel tearful sometimes. It is a book that respects India, is proud of India, but above all, it is a book that will remain close to the heart of Indians and will be a knowledgeable and beautiful experience for others as well.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: WaltNoise on June 06, 2012 :
I enjoyed this book. I was expecting more of an alternative history/political thriller, but the crisis leading to the division of India doesn’t occur until three-quarters of the way through the book.
This novel recounts the story of Jai, his bride, and friends in India and abroad. The story is nicely told, and I enjoyed the descriptions of Indian culture, sport, and geography woven into the tale. A good read.
(reviewed long after purchase)

Review by: Pico Triano on March 18, 2012 :
Originally posted this review on my blog:

Took me awhile to read through this book. That was not the fault of the author but more my schedule and the format in which I received it. It was easy to read and it has several big pluses going for it.

It resonated with me for one very important reason. I live in a country that has threatened and constantly threatens to split because of cultural differences. My wife and I originate from opposite sides of that potential split just like the couple in this book. Jai is from Southern India while his wife Kaahi is from Northern India. The book opens with the two of them seeing each other across the guarded and barb-wired border. The entire book swirls around this important issue. The lesson is aimed at a culturally diverse India but by extension is an important issue for everyone living on this fair planet of ours.

This book also puts a lot of effort into explaining Indian cultures and terms as it moves along. For those interested in modern India this novel is worth reading just for the valuable information contains. It is added to the narrative in a way that doesn't distract from the story being told and at the same time adds an element of interest that would otherwise be absent.

It is obvious enough that the author's first language is not English. Don't let that put you off. It is not badly written and the quirks of language may even add a certain charm. I honestly recommend the book for anyone.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: Lisa Johnson on Feb. 25, 2012 :
Title: India Was One
By: An Indian
Pages: 244
Published by author:
Year: 2011
Read my other reviews at

I contacted this author on Book Blogs to learn more about his book. I then did a short interview with him to help me understand the author, India, and more. The following is what I learned and now share with you.
Is this based on a real or factual event?
It is a fiction; however, it is based a lot on my experiences.

The words that are itialized in the book, is that to help explain things to English readers and others not familiar with India's customs and such?


Where did you get the idea for this book and will there be another one?

The idea of this book/story had been playing in my head for several years. I finally decided to pen it in January 2010. It took me less than a week to pour down my initial thoughts and over a year to expand them.

Is there anything you want readers to know about you, your writing, India, etc?

I guess I want people (who don’t know much about India) to see it from my point-of-view, to see what it’s like to live there, it’s culture, heritage, etc…, it’s day-to-day life told in a simple story.

Are you currently writing another book or have plans too?

No, I am not currently writing anything nor do I have plans for any. I just have a few ideas floating around in my head.;;
India was One is a very instructive read. Within the pages of this novel, the reader is assisted in understanding the culture, customs, religion and more of India. The story scenes are placed both in India and the United States. The audience is also told about the various foods that are served and the festivals of India.
The novel is a love story and more. There are five people who meet at a college area that several students from various universities visit in between classes and for other reasons too. The author focuses on the choices that these five individuals make and how their choices as well as lives intersect at more than one point in time.
The descriptions of sights, smells, foods and clothing help the reader picture in their mind as if they are really a part of the story. Some of the words are not easy to pronounce such as different areas, languages, names of food and the like. However, don’t let any of this cause you to miss reading an excellent story.
At the end of the novel, the writer shares his experiences by telling what is fictional, giving a short biography, facts and a poem. People who choose to read this novel will be the richer for it, as it gives understanding of a nation and her people. I rate this book a 5-star, and hope you will read it very soon for enjoyment as well as education.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: trish earl on Jan. 19, 2012 :
India Was One is a great book to read. Very interesting and easy to read. Definite recommend.
(reviewed long after purchase)

Review by: njmom3 on Jan. 19, 2012 :
Review first published on my blog:

India Was One is the story of what could happen if the culturally and religiously diverse parts of India threaten to come apart over these differences. The book tells this story through the love story of Jai and Kaahi, one from south India and one from north India. The book highlights some of the struggles going on in India today as caste differences, economic differences, cultural differences and other such things within this large country threaten to overshadow the fact that all these diverse populations are part of one country.

The story of Jai and Kaahi begins in India, comes to the US, travels to Europe, and then returns to India. The target audience for the book appears to individuals not familiar with Indian culture or with US culture. In the middle of the story, entire passages appear in italic print and provide descriptions and explanations much as a travel brochure would. Sometimes, it's unclear whether the explanations are there to help the story or the story is there to provide structure to the explanations. However, the book does paint a vivid picture of Indian culture and the expatriate culture of Indians living outside of India.

The book provides a hypothetical look at what would happen if India as a country started splitting into pieces. Unfortunately, the book does not follow through. It comes to a somewhat abrupt ending, bringing into play a stereotypical, external force as the resolution. The resolution seemed too quick and too cut and dried to address the complex cultural issues that the book was highlighting. The shift in focus to external conflicts undermines the point being made about the need to unify India across the cultural divides and the need for real, tangible solutions to these challenges.

***Reviewed for LibraryThing Member Giveaway Program***
(reviewed long after purchase)

Review by: Pam Mandigo on Jan. 11, 2012 :
Let me say I know very little about India and have never met anyone from there. This book changed all that. It is a tale of a boy and girl marrying and all they go thru. I really enjoyed learning more about them and the culture. This is a book that shows you many things you may not now about India and shows you what love and friendship mean. If you where separated from your love what would it be like for you. You need to read this delightful book to see what this amazing couple go thru. Very well written and I think this book makes you want to find out all you can about India.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: Ey Wade on Jan. 05, 2012 :
India Was One- is an engrossing story, very entertaining and shares a wealth of information. As a love story it breaks your heart to read of a married couple separated by country and culture. As a way to learn of another culture, India Was One wins hands down. As always it is a shame how we let small differences separate people. I really am glad I read this book and recommend it highly.
(reviewed long after purchase)

Review by: Shell Moore on Dec. 25, 2011 :
I was given this book and asked to review it. I enjoy learning about other cultures, and this book did not disappoint. I was eager to read the book based on the synopsis. India is a culture I knew little about although I have many Indian acquaintances.

I had no idea when I started reading this book how enthralling it would be. Not only was the story line very interesting, but interwoven in the story was the culture of a modern day Mumbai. The culture is explained as part of the story. One doesn't feel they are reading a school book, but they are still learning so much.

The story takes the reader through the college life of Jai, his group of friends, and the girl he falls in love with. It tells of the traditional marriage, how it's planned and the ceremony of it. The reader learns how one adjusts to moving to a different country and learning a different culture. And, one learns just how very important family is.

When living in America, they hear the news of unrest in India. They immediate decide to return home to check on their parents, as all communication has been cut. They learn they have to return to their ancestral state and their states are now in different countries. If they go back, they don't know when they will see each other again. They go anyway.

It's a story about love; love of each other, love of parents, love of friends, and love of country. A beautifully, well written book that was hard to put down.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: Sandra Stiles on Dec. 17, 2011 :
When asked to review this book I agreed in part because over the last two years in my school our Indian population has grown. As an IB global school we have been given glimpses into their culture. This book filled in a lot of the missing details. We meet Jai and Kaahi. These two young people come from two different areas of India. Their cultures also differ somewhat. They fall in love and get married. The very interesting thing is that all through this book you learn interesting facts about India. They have very bright and colorful weddings where the festivities last for days. White is worn for funerals. Completely opposite of here in America. I like their resoning better. Color expresses so much and I agree. After they are married they move to LA where they encounter another culture. As they are beginning to settle in to their new life, things back home start to go bad. The country is divided politically into North and South and they travel back to check on family members. They must separate as one of the is from the North and the other is from the South. The underlying message from this is to let us know that love conquers all and that no matter what the differences are people can still find ways to unite. Maybe this is a lesson we need to be reminded of hee in the USA.
(reviewed long after purchase)

Review by: vksharma on Nov. 21, 2011 :
Review by: Vijaiksharma on Nov 08, 2011
Having lived most of my life in India (and about two years in several other countries), when I got an opportunity to review a book about India, by an Indian, I grabbed the opportunity. Initially I did not read comments of other reviewers and readers, but read the book straightaway. I did not consider the point as to what I was expecting from it, since I knew India more or less well. I thought let us see. After completing the review, I was indeed happy on my decision to accept to review this book. This novel written by an author who prefers to remain incognito, starts from the present status and narrates the events in retrospect. Some of the events and visits to places in this novel are real, but most of the things are imaginary. It centres on the life of an Indian couple Jai and Kaahi. They belong to two different states and cultures of India. They meet in college canteen, love each other and get married with the consent of their families. They arrive in LA for a long honeymoon and then taking over charge of the company office. Thus they move to a different country and culture. They are initially guided by their employee Mr. Shah, living in LA and having experience of both cultures.
In different pages, this novel provides factual and informative details about India, its culture, history, customs, languages, food, marriages and cricket crazy Indians and various other aspects of life in India. Differences in the people of different parts of the country have always been there. All Indians are aware of the same, but are having unity in diversity. Towards the latter half of the novel, suddenly some troubles happen in India and its unity is threatened. India is now having division of land in two parts North and South, due to political problems. Such problems happen in other parts of the world also. To know about welfare of families, only option is to travel to India. It gives a touching account of the divided lovers going to different destinations for being with their families in this hour of crisis and it makes the reader concerned and emotional about their getting separated. Slowly things start becoming normal.
The novel provides a meaningful cover page, relevant illustrations and descriptive details of travels to USA, Europe, Rajasthan, Gujarat and Maharashtra in India, (like travelogue) and sincere and vivid inside view of a wide spectrum of many events and life of the couple in India and USA, as if happening right in front of the reader. At some places it uses Hindi (and also Kannada and Tamil) words with English translations. Such matter at several places may be creating obstructions in the flow of the novel and could have been curtailed, but it is more like a two- in- one, a combination of knowledge and enjoyment for the reader. It appears to be of more interest for non-Indians (and Indians too, who want to know more about their motherland) to understand and learn about the rich heritage of India, since many of the explanations given are not necessary for the Indians. Many persons paint a biased, incorrect, incomplete and negative picture about India. It is a faster and better way to know it correctly here. But it is also of interest for the Indians to know about the life in USA and Europe and difficulties in staying abroad. It also points about the political problems, which lead to partitions, turmoils and sufferings of the common man. Author projects the nationalistic point of view well, with the objective to tell the new generation as to why Indians want to go to their motherland often and what their parents think about them. He depicts his sense of belonging to India, sense of apprehension and positive hopes about its future. However, for knowing as to whether India is finally again one, we should read and enjoy this novel, which has good story, simple style, wit, humour, sadness and tenderness and covers aspects of love, friendship, anxiety and differences of cultures. It concludes that violence won’t be successful, unity is strength and in the end, always love and truth triumph. It is an interesting, entertaining, light reading and useful novel, worth reading and enjoying.

Rating of the book: * * * * *
Note: Visit the book’s website ( to see the availability in your area. The website also has a brief synopsis, the first chapter, poem that is in the book, book’s artwork, reviews (including media reviews). It also has an interactive map of India that gives you more information about India.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: Wendy on Nov. 08, 2011 :
The book grabbed me right at the very beginning. The story got a little slow in the middle but really picked up again half way through and I couldn't put it down. Besides the heartbreaking and intriguing story of Kaahi and Jai, this book is full of Indian history, facts and traditions. I actually loved this part of the book best! I had never read a book about India and truth be told - I didn't really know much about the country. Everything I knew about India I learned from "The Amazing Race" LOL (which was not good stuff).
I am glad the Author takes us on this journey through the beautiful country of India introducing us to its culture. For me I got to see a different side of India that I don't think many Americans get to see.

One of my favorite parts was the wedding and reading about the differences between India and America -

"In the western world, a bride wears a white gown when she gets married and in India plain white is worn by a widow."
"Color is an essential part of any Indian occasion... The wedding being the happiest of occasions, they want to celebrate it with colors."

I was very glad to have this opportunity to read this book to get to know the real India better. This is a fast easy reading love/adventure story full of rich Indian heritage!
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: Judi Williams on Nov. 02, 2011 :
This book was very intersting to me. Even though it was listed as fiction, there were parts of it that were historical and I enjoyed learning about the different parts of India. The story begins with a young man and his friends. Jai eventually falls in love with a young lady Kaahi. His friends teased him, as they were not interested in girls. Both parents were very happy about the forth coming wedding. I learned much about the wedding's in India. I will not go into detail, but will leave that for you.It is really interesting to read all they go thru.The wedding lasts 4 days or more. They had a short honeymoon and then the plan was to go to the USA for Jai to work in his father's business.
Gathering for meals seems to be a time of celebraton in the Indian Culture. In India, the host provides the food, as opposed to the USA, everyone brings a "dish to share".
There were so many changes they had to get used to in the US. On change was that the driver sits on the right side of the car. They were so amazed by everything being so BIG!They flew into Los Angeles and were met by Indian families living in the area.They enjoy each others company.People switch between English and Hindu in there conversatons. It is a "socio-culture".
Jai and Kaahi were very impressed in the US and very excited to travel. They laughed at home as some words in Hindu mean different things in English to be sometimes embarrassing.:)
The couple went to Europe in the summer and fighting broke out in India. Both of the kids were so very scarred of the safety of their families. Both Jai and Kaahi went back to India and found that India, their homeland had been divided into North India and South India due to the civil unrest. There is so much more in the book. Please buy it and you will see all the other things that happen. It is a book worth reading.

The author grew up in Mumbai,India in 1989 and now lives in Los Angeles with his wife and 2 children

This book was given to me by the author as a gift and I was asked to write a review. The review would be my own personal opinion of thebook
(reviewed within a week of purchase)

Review by: Rebecca Weinstein on July 10, 2011 :
India Was One was an interesting glimpse into aspects of an Indian couple's life together, both in their native India and in the United States. Although the opening of the story had a great hook, it took around another two hundred and twenty pages to get back to the good content. That's not to say that the rest of the book wasn't good content, it was; it just didn't belong in the middle of the story.

Let me explain. The story, in a nutshell, is boy meets girl, boy marries girl, couple goes on a honeymoon, move to the United States, and then something bad happens home in their native India. They return, are separated, and must find their way back to each other. Sounds like the premise of a good story, right? That's what I thought too.

Unfortunately, much of the flow of the story is interrupted by a lot of unnecessary explanation. Don't get me wrong, I love to read and I love to learn, and I learned a lot about India, its people, and its customs. But the explanations did too much to disrupt the flow of the story and could have been woven into the story a little better. If not, then they could have been cut out of the main story and possibly been added as a glossary and appendix. That is something not all too common in fiction, however it has been done before.

I was hooked by the very first page, but was disappointed about the extreme gap in the plot. I will say, however, that as soon as the major plot picked up again toward the end, I was instantly concerned for the well-being of the main characters. There were some parts within the story that were very descriptive, one in particular being the wedding events, although the writing in the beginning and the end was much better detailed and constructed. There was a lot more emotion written into the ending, and because of this, I cared much more for the characters at the end of the story than at the beginning or middle.

In all, I thought this book had a great premise and it taught as well as entertained. However, the teaching part needs to be seamless when woven into a story, and not outright explanation. I think this author has seen and experienced much of the world and has some great stories to tell. I look forward to reading more of them.
(reviewed within a week of purchase)

Review by: Susanna C. Mahoney on May 05, 2011 :
Reading India Was One, was like entering through a hidden portal, the reader is introduced to the rich heritage of India, it is a story that unfolds with descriptive colorful characters that become like a family to the reader. There are the parents, the adults, the zany friends , the traditional relatives and the .lovestruck lovers who let you follow them through their daily lives;from college, to romance, to friendships, to their favorite past time, Cricket. The married couple traveled to exotic locations, all over India, Europe and United States, the details are so vivid, it lets the imagination believe you are joining them on their journeys. This story divulges hidden secrets, the conflicts and the traditions of people living in India before and after a civil unrest. It adds exquisite colorful artwork and details one is not familiar with. Since the Partition of India in August 1947, there have been three major wars, one minor war and numerous armed skirmishes between India and Pakistan. .
India Was One, tells of this country divided in two, North and South. The perils of the lovers and families trying to unite again, but are denied . The Indians are separated by their ethnicities and are trapped behind either the North or South borders according to military protocol, have to go where commanded even if loved ones are separated.. The civilians are trying to coexist and declared their heritage of being an Indian and not lose their heritage to misguided terrorists. The conclusion was heart-wrenching , and at the same time, a ray of hope. The humor and art work is worth the price alone. This book covers all aspects of whata reader needs for a mini vacation away from life’s struggles, so warm and friendly with fast paced thrills. You will not regret purchasing this book and placing it in your library .It is an excellent book to take a mini mind vacation with and opens a portal into a world of wonders and mysteries.
(reviewed long after purchase)

Review by: CathyS on May 05, 2011 :
I have to admit that if I was in a bookshop I would have walked straight past this book. So, when I was given the opportunity to read it, I checked out a few reviews on it and, although a little apprehensive, decided, well, why not. I thought: what do I really know about India other than the Taj Mahal, Bollywood, Imran Khan and a cracking good Vindaloo on a Friday night? Well, alright, not that little – but my point is, I don’t know much. The reviews seemed to suggest that there would be something to learn from the book. My apprehension was happily misplaced. The first chapter – more of a prologue – drew me in straightaway. Whilst the novel is fictional, the story of boy-meets-girl-marries-girl (Jai and Kaahi) is interwoven with a treasure trove of facts about India – sometimes in the characters’ conversations, sometimes as explanatory paragraphs. The author’s uncomplicated style never makes the latter heavy-reading. The facts that are interspersed in the conversations do make the dialogue a little strange at times, especially between the two main characters – it’s sometimes hard to believe that two people in love would actually talk like reference books – but you become so engrossed in the information you overlook this. Even the references to cricket (which to my mind is marginally more exciting than watching paint dry) are interesting.

If you separate the story from the factual content, you are left with a rather unsubstantial, rather frail boy-meets-girl tale, which would not stand alone. If you separate the factual content from the story, you have an ordinary, but easy-to-read guide book that could sit happily next to a Lonely Planet guide. Put them together you have a unique, enjoyable book that has you caring deeply about Jai and Kaahi’s life and future and the opportunity to learn more about the richness of India’s tapestry of culture, language, food, costume, religion, customs and geography. The author has now managed to put India on my bucket list of places to visit. I wish all my geography books had been written like this – I might have learnt more.

This book is quite a little gem.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: Kate Nichols on April 25, 2011 :
I really enjoyed the story line of this book and felt invested in the characters and their lives, both in India and the United States. Since the author is writing for an audience who might not know the about the food, customs, languages etc of India, he goes into detail to explain them. I found some of those descriptions jarring at times as they interrupted the flow of the story and were not always necessary. All in all, this book was a interesting read.
(reviewed within a week of purchase)

Review by: Chrystine Julian on April 15, 2011 :
There is growing popularity of South Asian culture and spirituality as evidenced by the growth of Bollywood, Yoga, Curry and Kirtan in the US. Bestselling books like Eat, Pray Love and The Life of PI have capitalized on that interest. In India Was One the author provides the reader with an inside view of that culture. It is at once informative, exotic and thought provoking. It is a must read for anyone seeking a more than superficial understanding of India and the way it interplays with the conflicts and transformation of our modern society.
(reviewed within a week of purchase)

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