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 (www.IndiaWasOne.com) 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.