The Hungry Tide

By Amitav Ghosh

It was a hot afternoon of May when all people want is a cool breeze, I came accross this book in an exhibition. I don’t know whether it was the green cover or the thought of tides but I bought that book immidiately. This is a story set in the Sundarban forests of India. The author gives a brief description about the history of dolphins in that area.

The story starts with the central character Piyali Roy coming to India for her research. Piyali is a non residential Indian. Here the plot begins to unfold slowly as she meets people through her journey. The first person she meets is Kanai Dutt, a businessman from Delhi, who becomes her interpreter with the local folk. Kanai’s uncle is a political radical who died mysteriously years ago and his aunt still stays in Sundarban and is a local figure there. The author manages to display a practical formal relationship between these two characters, something very few stories have. What really amazed me was the description of the attitude of the locals. There are moments where the reader is unable to leave the book like the storm where Piyali gets stuck while collecting data for her research.

A lot of information about the forest and the lives of the people staying there have been given during the narration. The legends and lifestyle of the peopel froms the crust of the story. Hence this is a lengthy book. Even a fast reader needs to read atleast for one hour to understand a small part of the story. It may not be the right choice for a long journey. On a rainly morning with a hot cup of coffee this is the best companion. Also this is a great book to gift. This book is a role model in the way the history of a place can be used to make a modern day fiction and still maintain the mystery of the place. So if you have time and want to read a good book then this is the right choice.

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Two States

By Chetan Bhagat

This is a story of a boy and girl, Krish and Ananya respectively. From this line itself one can make out its a love story. Absolutely right but the best part is the way its presented. It starts with the characters in IIM, the top Business school where they are drawn towards each other. The author gives a practical but hilarious presentation of the life there. At the end of their course they decide to marry and this leads to the big challenge. He is a punjabi and she a Tamil. The diversity of India between the north and south Indians plays an important role in giving this story an additional edge.

Being qualified they decide to convince their parents than rebel. He goes to chennai to work and simultaneously please her parents by learning tamil. The manager at his workplace, the mindset of people and the rivalry amongst different business school people left me in fits of laughter. To top it all the excuses they find to meet each other. Similarly Krish’s mother in Delhi who tries to find a punjabi bride for him, is shocked to find about her son’s love interest. The story is further decorated by the humdrum of a punjabi wedding, the obsession with engineering studies and the homework done before receiving a prospective groom.

All in all this is an extremely light book making it an ideal companion after a hard day’s work. The plot is simple and grows slowly but the reader’s attention is held till the end. This is by far one of the finest works by Chetan Bhagat. Go ahead and buy it if you are going for a long journey. Most of the elements in the character’s lives have been part of our lives as well. This makes the book even more enjoyable. However its a one time read and may not make a gift.