October 6, 2014

Chetan Bhagat's Half Girlfriend

Yesterday, I read Chetan’s “Half Girlfriend”. I really loved his acknowledgements. He thanked his readers and requested them to love him rather admiring him. In his context, admiration fades away soon but love sustains longer and accepts the flaws. And in the end of the acknowledgements he said, ‘I don’t want to be remembered but I want to be missed.’ After reading this what else could I say? I love him and his works with all the ups and downs.
First of all, I would like to say that Chetan Bhagat writes neither pop-literature nor classic literature. He writes reality. He doesn’t write for exclusive sect of people those who want to look for classy and nobler stuffs in a book or who appreciate aesthetics of the content and diction; also he doesn’t write for a crowd that looks for violence, thrill, racing or titillation. He writes for and about people who he was born and grown with. He represents the huge crowd in India—people who are very simple and strong, who never gives up finding advantage to evolve or progress through the disadvantages of population, politics and poverty.  As he mentioned, I don’t want to admire or criticize his works, but I want to love and accept his works. I never want to compare his style and diction with the European or American classics which I read and admired. I want to be an Indian and appreciate his simplicity and honesty.
Now, what’s in his “Half Girlfriend”?
The book doesn’t read as its fancy title sounds. I sensed that Chetan Bhagat has evolved in many positive ways while reading:
1.       He didn’t write much about a friends’ gang of drinking and smoking.
 2.      This time, his heroine is not sensually kindled type.
3.      The use of words like ‘ethereal’, ‘immaculate’, ‘impeccable’, and ‘fiasco’ proved that he is taking care of his diction.
 4.      His sentences read grammatically conscious.
 5.      He realized his works’ influence a huge crowd and he has become more sincere and responsible writer.
Apart from the above observations, what I love about this book is the characterization of Riya Somani. Though the story centres the character Madhav Jha and his love towards Riya, the sensible and strong-willed Riya earns my love and respect. Though it seems Madhav has done a great job by not giving up his love, Riya in spite of her losses—failed marriage and father’s death—pursued her dream. She never gives up even after she found her love and comfort. The moral of the story is the same old Disney Princesses’ line “Follow your Heart”. But, Chetan says it with the Indian reality and the moral is new to India. We Indians don’t have the courage to be different and break the hurdles like social and family values and emotional, political and financial congestions to follow our heart. He advised, whatever may be the obstacle jump on, step ahead and run that extra mile to pursue your dreams. Both protagonists, Riya and Madhav, in the story break all the hindrances like social and family values, time, distance, finance and emotional break downs to pursue their dreams. Despite its cinematic happy ending and screenplay tone, the book has nobler theme. I love the book and so flaws are not visible to me. We can act and talk like a native speaker in English in our work places but end of the day we vent out our emotions in the mother tongue to our closest people. That’s how it is to read Chetan Bhagat. His book gives the feel of home.

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