If you interact at all with 20-30 year olds in India, you should minimally be aware of who Chetan Bhagat is. He is a famous author whose books about call centers and Indian education systems (and cheaply priced books) really found a huge market among millennials in India.
Some people find his writing style too elementary and complain that his approach to issues is too juvenile, but his appeal is massive, and his books are easy to read. Two States is one of his better books, in my opinion.
Two States is the story of a Punjabi boy from Delhi who falls in love with a Tamilian girl and decides to get married. The book is full of examples of #IndiasNotIndia. My favorite one is where the boy walks into the girl’s family home and says “The long rectangular room looked like what would be left if a Punjabi drawing room was robbed.” (Tamil homes are quite bare in decoration.)
Apart from giving endless examples of inter-regional differences, Two States also gives a picture of modern romance. It may not be typical of most modern-day relationships, but it is at least one to look at. Nearly all films and books about romance in India will deal with the love marriage vs. arranged marriage tension in families, and this book is no different, albeit not as dramatized as a typical film.
Regardless of your opinion of Chetan Bhagat’s quality of writing, Two States is worth the price (about Rs. 100 in India) to get a glimpse into mainstream literature and these two important themes of regional differences and modern romance.
Who would like it: People looking to see more of the pulse of mainstream India, especially if you are working around young people.
If you like the book, check out his other titles here.