04 July, 2013

#BookReview :: Complete/Convenient by Ketan Bhagat

Welcome to the world of Kabir, a twenty-something software sales professional aspiring to relocate overseas. Charming, humorous, street smart and interesting, Kabir is a typical boy who loves life. The kind of boy usually Ranbir Kapoor plays in movies. Living in Mumbai with his best friend, who is his complete opposite and a walking-talking ‘excel sheet’, and in regular touch with his forthright girlfriend and family in Delhi, Kabir’s life is full on. 
Elated on being transferred to Australia, Kabir quickly gets married and hops onto the next flight to Sydney. Dazzled by the glamorous free-spirited Aussie world, the newly-married honeymooning couple soon find themselves living a life beyond their rosiest imaginations. A quick professional success acts as a further icing on the cake. 
But as time flies and the humdrum of married and professional life take over, realizations of loneliness and helplessness underlying an envious NRI life begin to surface. Worst come, the relationships left behind are beginning to wither. As his best friend and family battle through unexpected crisis and Kabir himself gets embroiled in professional challenges, balancing between the two worlds – Australia and India – becomes a stressful lone battle. 


Okay, so all of you know my stand about Chetan Bhagat and so when I heard that there’s another Bhagat in the market I was like – isn’t one enough to torture the souls of literature laureates forever? Well then Ketan Bhagat’s book hit the market – the blurb wasn’t encouraging enough. But then I got recommendations from not one but three people to read this book. All the three recommendations began with – he is nothing like Chetan! So there, I picked it up! But fair warning – there may be some comparisons and biased views – I am only human afterall.

The narration follows the story of Kabir and his journey from India to Australia and back - his job, his marital life and his hopes and dreams. 

When a carefree and fun loving Kabir is offered a position in Australia, he is over the moon. The thoughts of the exposure and the income in Australian dollars is a dream come true - but first, he gets married to his girlfriend Myra. The fast paced life, the novelty of a new country and the settling down soon wears off. The late nights and missed occasions soon start take a toll. Then a family emergency calls for his involvement. And that’s when the crappy politics, traffic jams and power cuts of his homeland start to look not so bad afterall.

Okay, I have to admit that this Bhagat brother has a much better writing style. First and foremost, Ketan has managed to paint a very vivid picture of a foreign land to us Indians who have never had the chance to visit Australia. Also, lesser Bollywood masala and more real emotions that one can genuinely relate to and characters closer to the reality we live in.

Another thing about this book is its cover. The cover is nicely done and once I finished reading the book, I found the cover to be more meaningful than before. The ‘complete’ section has an illustration of India – the homeland that may cause inconvenience with its developing status but does give the sense of belonging and completeness. On the other hand, the ‘convenient’ part has illustration of Australia – the country that promised of professional exposure, higher income and a much better standard of living yet where life remains incomplete.

Overall, this may not be the debut of the year but sure holds some promise. Hope this author will mature over time and bring forward some more work with content that matters.


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