Wednesday, April 23, 2014

India Was One by An Indian


…Suddenly, he saw something shiny at the bottom of the abyss. He squinted his eyes to see what it was. He ran back to his binoculars and turned them to see what it was. Sharp barbed wires that separated the two mountains came into focus. He had come as far as he could in his country. But she was standing in another country.
He was in South India and she was in North India…
Have you ever imagined India being divided into two countries? What happens to the millions of Indians who are from South India but are now residing in North India? Kaahi & Jai were two such people who got trapped in this situation. Everything was going smoothly for them and suddenly, their world turned upside down.
How will they get together? Will India become one again?
Take an exciting journey with them from their college days in Mumbai to their life in the US and back to India when they find out that India is divided.



It was an interesting start. A couple, obviously in love and married, hiding in the jungle and unable to meet each other.  Jai and Kaahi – the two lovebirds. This is not only a love story where a  young girl meets a young boy in college. The teasings, the friendships and the young love are portrayed beautifully by the Author. I was with them in the canteen, teasing and being teased by my mates. Bullied by the college bully and taking a stand. I witnessed the young love budding between Jai and Kaahi. Cheered when the parents agreed to their marriage, even though Kaahi was Gujrati and Jai was originally from Karnataka. They met in college and fell in love. No parent’s opposition (as now more and more parents are becoming more open minded regarding inter-caste marriages, though some of you might be giving me the ‘meh’ look! ) and no villains in this love story. So, what is the conflict? Where lies the problem? What is the story?

The author has really taken the reader for a ride with this one. We travel to US as this couple settles down in  a new environment. Are they compatible with each other? Very. A lovely and understanding relationship has been portrayed here. The US culture as a neo Desi sees it, the welcome by our fellow Indians, introduction to the folds of Indian culture layered between the US lifestyle has been highlighted beautifully. The festivals that are celebrated only on weekends, the Indian groceries which we Indians rush to find the first thing we step on foreign soil and those yummy Potlucks. Those intercultural potlucks which many Indians will not witness in India. Such is the rich culture of Indians abroad. Why? No idea! Maybe remember we are Indians – not Bengalis, Gujarati, Punjabi, Kannadiga or Tamilian. Nor Hindu, Muslim or Christian. Anyways, this is not a lecture on Bharat ek hai. :)

So again the question arises what is the problem? While the author went at a steady pace regarding the life of Kaahi and Jai, a sudden twist came in the form of war. Not a war in the USA but something which forced them to leave US and return to India – separately. Now India is no more the same as it used to be when they had left for USA. India is divided into North India and South India. (The thought itself if so damn scary!). Kaahi has to go to North India, while Jai took a flight for South India. Will they ever meet? And will India ever become one again?….. For that you have to read this unusual story.

What Liked..

1. The author has handled the different religions and customs of India very well.

2. He has kept some part of the conversation in vernacular languages. It is not only a story, but also a way of life represented by an Indian to the future generations.

3. You won’t find just a story line here, but the author takes many diversions and explains the culture of not only India but also Europe and the USA. A good mixture of entertainment and education.

4. The sudden twist in the story, you might not be prepared for. If this ever happens in India, what would many of us do, What would our kids, who are products of inter-caste marriage  do? Though provoking. Isn’t it?

5. That one incident (which we Indians still dread today) made me relive those moments I sat crying in front of the television.

Must also comment on the artwork by Darshini. Superb sketches!!!

This is the rating for the story. I am not following in damn rules for this book. One star for the illustrations and also for the concept. The out of the box thinking. I will not deny that a bit tighter editing would have made be happier, but hey, some thoughts are worth the stars…… and this is self published and the author has taken the pain to get it edited professionally. Moreover, now in Bangalore, Sapna book store is proudly displaying this book on their shelves. So, dear Bangloreans, do go and check this out.

For the concept and illustrations [1 star... sorry don't have a pic for that. ]

Total Rating 


1. The story was so intriguing that there were moments I really did not want to divert from the story.

2. I knew that India will be divided. But the life story of Jai and Kaahi went on for some time. With every turn of the page, I expected that it would happen now, but always another incident took over. Not good for my BP!!! 

3. The second part of the story was damn interesting (it had some real nail biting moments). It should have been longer than the first part.

Would I recommend this book. Definitely. It is thought provoking, it brings out an incident which all Indians will relate to. For NRI’s it has some  ‘chitti ayee hai vatan se chitti aye hai wala’ moment. It is also something we should let our kids read. A clean romance while I won’t call it religious, but rather lingual intolerance as the background. I found a strong message in this story. Till we are one –no harm can come to us. But when we divide…… read what happens. Actually, hats off to the writer just for re-creating that moment and giving us the opportunity to say our silent thanks to all those involved. Do read this book.. You won’t regret it !

About The Author 

imange: google image
The Author calls himself An Indian. I have no pics of him. So the best one I could think of I have put it up. But the Author does have something to say to every Indian out there....

Dear Readers,

I wanted to tell a story peppering it with Indian languages and narrating my experiences, inter-weaving them with some imaginary tale. When I mentioned this idea to my wife, her very first question was, "who is your target-audience?" That made me "think outside the box". After reading the book, you'll agree that there is no target-audience. I'd say - 10+, any sex, from any country, any ethnicity, any religion - is the intended audience.

When I wanted to tell a story, I wanted to "lull" the reader into thinking that they are just reading a travelogue. Making them wonder where (if at all anywhere) the story is going. Is it just another boring experience written by a NRI? AND THEN BOOM. It hits you. Suddenly, along with the characters, the reader's dream-world shatters.

This book is broken up in 3 parts. And it is intentional. Let me explain why.

The first part is about the Indian culture. Most Indians (in India) already know it. But what about NRIs? They may find it nostalgic. And what about their kids. They may have a better understanding about their roots and culture. And the non-Indian find it very fascinating. 

The second part is about life in the US. Readers who are in the US may find it a bit like a travelogue. However, others may find it very interesting. Those who can't be here get a glimpse into the US life of an Indian (and the US life in general).

The third part is for everyone. 

Hence, you'll notice that different people react differently to this book. There is something for everyone.

I hope this helps you.

Thank you,
An Indian
Stalk him @


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At May 21, 2014 at 12:37 AM , Blogger Sundari Venkatraman said...

It's an intriguing concept - a South and North India. I am a Tamil living in Maharashtra. Scary indeed! Need to check this one out :)

At May 23, 2014 at 1:38 AM , Blogger Devika Fernando said...

I really liked the book, although its style needed some getting used to. The idea was powerful, there was so much to learn and enjoy, and precisely the own style that I mentioned makes it different from what I usually read.

At May 31, 2014 at 11:41 PM , Blogger The Book Club said...

Isn't it Sundari? I wonder what will I do. The thought itself is so scary :(

At May 31, 2014 at 11:42 PM , Blogger The Book Club said...

Yes, i wonder from 10years from now .. what will be this book be genre-ised as? That would be interesting to know. :)


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