1. Review: One Indian Girl by Chetan Bhagat; makes caricatures out of characters

Review: One Indian Girl by Chetan Bhagat; makes caricatures out of characters

Chetan Bhagat’s new book lays on the feminism too thick, making caricatures out of characters

By: | New Delhi | Published: October 16, 2016 6:08 AM
As the title suggests, the story is about an Indian girl (Image source-Twitter) As the title suggests, the story is about an Indian girl (Image source-Twitter)

Chetan Bhagat contradicts himself. His latest book, One Indian Girl, is all about feminism, but as one of his characters says in the book, it’s more about humanism these days. Wish Bhagat had taken a tip or two from his character.

As the title suggests, the story is about an Indian girl. One who’s super-successful, makes loads of money, has a high-flying career, has had relationships and regular sex—all by the age of 25 years. So what, you might ask? Well, yeah, so do we. So what, Mr Bhagat?

But, obviously, it’s a big deal for the author. So we have Radhika Mehta, a nerd who keeps her nose buried in books all the time, tops all her classes, goes to prestigious academic institutions and lands a job at Goldman Sachs in New York. From there on, her career path is a steep climb upwards. But there’s love and loss on the way, supplemented on the side with a mother who is constantly trying to marry her off. She even persuades Radhika to settle for an arranged marriage. Whether she succeeds or not is for you to find out.

Two things make you wince in this book. The biggest is how Bhagat lays on the feminism too thick. The stereotypes he paints are far removed from reality—that an intelligent woman has to be a nerd who has never had her legs waxed, or is clueless on how to interact with men. Come on, which IIM is a girls’-only institution where women never interact with men? Even girls’ schools are not preferred these days.

And which parent will send a daughter to the most prestigious of organisations and not be proud of her success, worrying instead that no one will marry her because she makes too much money? To lay it on thicker, Bhagat has caricatures like a beautiful sister who knows nothing except make-up and clothes, and for whom getting married is the only ambition. Some contrast this.

Deals are foregone because of sexist remarks by clients. That the protagonist has a clever plan has to be reiterated, because, well, she is a woman. Not expected from a woman to be clever!

Goldman Sachs is the second pain in the book. As per Bhagat, there can’t be a more sympathetic, fair, just and great place to work at. It just might be, but the author didn’t have to extoll the virtues of Goldman Sachs on every page, lest the readers forget, god forbid!

Education, career, marriage and bearing children are conscious choices made by women these days; they are not forced upon them, at least not among the educated. Intended to be a “finding herself” book, sadly, Bhagat’s one Indian girl is constantly lost.

  1. S
    Sunita
    Nov 9, 2016 at 10:53 am
    Chetan Bhagat has written many novels but and all are the best novelsThe One Indian Girls is not at all bad According to this novel Chetan hai said it true that girls faces many problem and the problem through Radhika Mehta was going was such a big.Yes as he said it right if it was a man it would be oky but as she is a women everyone will comment on her characterAccording to me this was an awsome novel and i loved it.
    Reply
    1. A
      Anil Bisht
      Oct 17, 2016 at 4:38 am
      Feminism may have shades and degrees that might be what Chetan Bhagat wants to convey. But overall speaking, Feminism is also becoming a Tom boy and taking oath never to marry. Bhagat's book might be just 20 percent true depiction, but that might not be the author's idea.
      Reply
      1. S
        Sonakshi Malhotra
        Dec 16, 2016 at 11:54 am
        I'll not at all agree with your point of view regarding this book. Chetan Bhagat has shown a picture which somewhere or the other, does happen to women. There are women who have had given up their career to take care of their family. I loved this book. Great job done by Chetan Bhagat.
        Reply
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          Niharika
          Oct 17, 2016 at 2:12 pm
          To the writer of this article- Looks like you have never seen actual India which is not in metros and top cities in India. We still live in era where educated and earning girls are worry for parents. It's a threat to men to have a working woman for marriage. And looks like u have never tried hard to top your school. That's why u look unaware, that it takes a lot of efforts and sacrifice to top it cl. Not going for wax is one of them, unless the family is well off and mother visits beauty parlour often. Remember late early 80s there were no parlours other than metros. Pls check the facts before writing such articles. This book is very close to reality, u seems to be away from it.
          Reply

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