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One Indian Girl By Chetan Bhagat

Dipti Pathare Book Reviews November 15, 2016

Chetan Bhagat’s books have always been of keen interest to both his admirers and non-admirers. His writing is simple English, yet so relatable!
 
All his books have been a best-seller - right from when it started with the book "One Night at Call Center" in the year 2005.
 
It has been 11 long years and he still his books are a favorite for millions of readers across the globe.
 
One Indian Girl is no different!!
 
A story of a middle-class Gujarati girl – Radhika Mehta, who is unlike other girls and a feminist; a girl born at a time when her father was expecting a baby boy; and popularly according to Indian terms, a cause of shame!!
 
Unlike her sister, Aditi who had got married after completing her graduation, Radhika went out to become the Vice-President at an investment back in New York.
 
Radhika is just like most of the girls in our country who aspires to be successful and has big dreams and who does not feel the need for a man for her existence!!
 
The irony of our country that was once ruled by a woman, or has a female astronaut reaching moon and back or has amazing IPS female officers, we still are of the mindset that for women to exist, they need a man!! Or even worse, they cannot exist – until they have a man in their lives!!
 
A man, in Indian terms is the one who would go out, work hard, earn, and be the bread winner for the entire family, woman’s existence is only and only limited to the kitchen and further for the kids (chaar deeware and baal bachche!!).
 
A woman in many parts of our so called “independent” and “republic” country is still considered inferior in many aspects. She can’t stay single (or unmarried as per Indian terms again, after the age of 25), she can’t have a career, she can’t go clubbing if she wants to, she has to play the role of a good girl – as a daughter, a sister, a girlfriend, a wife, a mother and the list goes on… her area of living (sometimes equivalent to no self satisfying life) is only decided by the society!!
 
The sad part is, sometimes even her parents won’t support her thoughts and want to get rid of her as soon as possible by getting her married off.
 
The character of the protagonist - Radhika, in this book is no different! She never had any relationships until she went to New York for her job after completing her Master’s, where she met Debu (Debashish) – a young, handsome Bengali who works in a mediocre advertisement company.
 
Debt is just like all those men in our "society" who feel insecure and jealous of the woman they are dating because she gets a high bonus or earns more than him. He breaks off the relationship with Radhika because she got a bonus three times to what he earned annually.
 
She begged him to return and his response to that was he does not see her as a mother-figure because of her job..
 
One day she made up her mind to choose love over career, and resigned from her job. She bought a nice ring for him and knocked up on his apartment door but what she found was Debu making love to some blonde girl.
 
Horrified, she left the place immediately and on the way back she decided to never ever look back! She moved to Hong Kong and works even harder than before and was promoted to become the Vice President of Goldman Sachs – a reputed investment bank.
 
There, she was strongly attracted towards her boss’s boss – Neel; a man in his mid-forties, married and with two kids, yet so handsome and attractive!
 
One thing led to another and one fine night under the Champagne effect, they made love on a business trip on an island in Philippines and at that very moment, she felt it was the right thing to do.
 
Next morning when she woke up, she found herself naked on the beach and the sun shining bright.
 
When she looked around, she found her dress lying next to her and there he was, Neel sleeping calmly.
 
She realized what a blunder she had made! She quickly got herself dressed and ran towards her hotel room.
 
Once they were back in their Hong Kong office, she put down her resignation as it was too awkward for her to work with Neel anymore.
 
As she was the best in the distressed debt group, Neel offered her instead, to be transferred to London.
 
She moved to London and that was when her mom talked to her about getting married.
 
Already feeling lost about the battle she always fought for feminism, Radhika gave up and agreed to marry Brijesh.
 
Everything was going well until her past came back to her a couple of days before her marriage!
 
She handled the situation quite well, I would say. She had a lot of nerve and I salute that! She cancelled her wedding!! (How she did and what happened next, you need to buy the book and read).
 
Not only that, she decided to take a long vacation all by herself and then resume her job in London.
 
Coming back to such situations in reality, it is not easy to say no to a marriage on the day it is planned. There is lot more drama and sometimes we are are even compelled to get married with a common question that most people are afraid to answer, “What will the society/relatives say?”
 
Hardly a few families would support their daughters and their decisions as well or be proud of their daughter’s achievements and be encouraging about her dreams/ career.
India may have been Independent for 69 years now, but women are still not independent. They still have to agree with what their parents say, and toss their dreams and aspirations in the bin (which is never recycled!).
 
One Indian Girl for me is an inspiration for all those girls who agreed to settle down because of the fear called society or their family, and an attitude that says that the girl's act can bring the family to shame.
 
Dear girls, I know it is not always possible for everyone or in every situation to revolt, but do rise up whenever you feel the situation requires it to be so! Do not settle down for less! Do not think of anyone’s happiness but yours. Do live your dreams. Do travel. Drink that damn vodka. Exercise if you feel you are overweight – not because you feel ugly! Buy that dress/make-up you always wanted to. Invest money on you, sometimes. Read good, soul feeding books. Have a cup of coffee. Work hard, so you can party hard. Join a course you always wanted to. Learn a new language. Google questions if you seek some answers. Cut your hair/color them if you want to. Go to a salon and get yourself pampered. Look into that mirror and say you are beautiful, no matter how you look. Believe yourself. Do charity. Buy that damn house and gift it to your parents. Get a pet, if you want one. Go watch sunsets, because they make you have faith that even though the day has ended, there would be another day, another sunset. Watch the waves make beautiful sounds on the shore. Save money. Click photos and make memories. Live alone, away from parents and home, do all  chores by yourself, then come home and feel the warmth of the love! Date if you want. Have sex if you want!
Because, you only have one life!! Make the finest out of it!!
 
When death comes, you should not regret about what you did!
 
Because, my dear, you are not only a girl, you are Special – in every way!!
 
All and all, I would give this book a 4.5 rating out of 5!! Chetan Bhagat never fails to mesmerise his readers.